Folks traveling in downtown Paducah may notice a new, three-story window mural display in a building at 315 Broadway that shows orange monarch butterflies flying and landing on yellow Black-eyed Susan flowers.
The mural is part of the new Broadway Mural Project, a joint effort between Paducah Main Street and Paducah Creative & Cultural Council. The new project is designed to bring positive attention to vacant, available downtown business properties while also working on beautifying and livening up downtown spaces.
Nic Hutchinson, Paducah Planning director, said the mural project is a way to beautify downtown, bring awareness to available properties in prime downtown locations and partner with the local art community.
“The idea is to one, incorporate more public art into downtown and into the community, and two, to bring attention and awareness to opportunities for those investors and businesses [that] exist in downtown,” Hutchinson said.
Nikki May, a Paducah-based fine artist and web designer, was tasked with designing a mural that fit the window space of the vacant building.
May said former Paducah Main Street Director Katie Axt reached out to her a few months ago as the Broadway Mural Project discussions began.
Inspired by the the idea of public art being a “pollinator” to bring more business to the area, May said Axt reached out to her because she knew about May’s current project where she is working on creating art pieces representing the 50 state flowers and insects.
From there, May designed a few concepts that could fit some of the vacant buildings in downtown Paducah that utilized flowers, blooms and insects.
The Black-eyed Susan flowers and monarch butterfly mural utilizes contrasting colors, with the orange butterflies and yellow flowers standing out against the green leaves and cool, blue background. May’s design connects through three stories of windows and glass panes, creating one cohesive image.
May’s mural is printed on separate pieces of window film, which was then installed on the indoor side of windows of various sizes in the vacant Broadway property between Courtyard Antiques and Raven & Moth over the last few weeks. Art displays at the Paducah Innovation Hub inspired May to explore this method, and Petter Supply worked with her to get exact window measurements for May to map out where the divides in her design would go.
“This is the biggest [art piece] I’ve ever done. I’ve never done a giant, three-story tall building before, but I would love to more,” May said.
Several artist groups have already expressed interest about being involved with another mural project in the future. Hutchinson said Paducah Main Street has not yet identified the next site for the Broadway Mural Project, but said there are several large vacant spaces on Broadway to possibly display another mural if there are positive reactions and results from this display.
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