Fairgrounds mural project in second year

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald Moses Lake artist Erika Nicole works on her second mural project for the Grant County Fairgrounds.

MOSES LAKE — A project to add more movable art to the Grant County Fair will produce two murals for 2017.

“Pieced Together” is a joint project of the Moses Lake Museum & Art Center, Columbia Basin Allied Arts and fairgrounds management. This is the project’s second year.

Painters Erika Nicole and Shawn Cardwell are the featured artists. Both return from 2016.

The goal is to create artworks for many of the major buildings at the fairgrounds. The murals highlight Grant County, in one way or another, and the fair.

Artists are asked to depict different parts of the county, and different attractions, each year. For 2017 artists were asked to depict communities in Grant County, including Moses Lake, Ephrata, Quincy and Warden.

Nicole said she wanted to include the Columbia Basin’s outdoor recreation, “the flora-fauna scope of the area.” Each mural is 4 feet by 4 feet square, and Nicole’s depicts the pheasants and quail she sees in her yard. “We love going out and hiking,” exploring different areas of the county and the basin, she said. The mural depicts some of the fish and birds, plants and flowers she has found.

Cardwell is a native of Ephrata and chose one of the town’s landmarks, the Grant County Courthouse. “I’m still kind of new at art,” she said, still exploring different mediums and techniques, finding her style. The courthouse’s classical lines made it an attractive subject, she said.

The project also includes a create-your-own painting booth, right inside the front gate at the fair. There was an art-project booth in 2016, but the new location is more visible to fairgoers. “We’re focusing more on hands-on activities” in 2017, said museum director Freya Liggett, who was manning the booth Wednesday morning. Kids – and adults – can create their own art, leave it to dry and pick it up before they leave. The booth is open from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day of the fair and is manned by volunteers from the museum and CBAA.

Mural art allows the paintings to be removed and protected from bad weather, and reinstalled for summer event season. Two of the 2016 paintings are on display on the side of the arts and crafts building, while the third is near the food court.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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