The Kenai Art Center has temporarily abandoned its clean-cut creative displays for a more lively and immersive project this month, which takes the form of a collaborative mural extending from wall to wall.
Marion Nelson, the president of the Peninsula Art Guild, said on Wednesday that the progress has been fascinating to watch.
Two years ago the center had a mural show, but the pieces were created on Tyvek material. This year, the artists are painting on hanging canvas.
“It’s quite a different experience,” Nelson said. “We’ve painted on canvas before but not on the wall.”
She said every artist has been producing impressive work so far.
“These pieces are just so big and so spectacular,” Nelson said.
Melinda Hershberger, one of the artists, was rounding out the circular shape of her sea glass spheres Wednesday afternoon. As the sea glass floated in the water, a forested mountain range could be seen in the background.
Hershberger said Alaska topography inspired her contribution to the mural.
“It’s kind of something I’ve been thinking about for a little while,” she said. “I don’t work this big so (it’s) an opportunity to do my traditional glass fishing floats.”
Hershberger said she’s been practicing her craft for a long time, having created work for multiple exhibits as well as making personal pieces and leading various art groups.
She said she studied art at both Kenai Peninsula College and then later at the University of Alaska.
On the same part of the wall, Abbey Ulen was perfecting the frogs on her mural. Her creation depicted a young girl with her flashlight catching the little animals at night.
“When I was a little girl I used to have frogs behind my house at this frog pond,” she said. “So I’d ride my bike down the road and catch frogs in a jar … so it was kind of inspired by that memory.”
Ulen said she makes art professionally full time, and generally works with oil paint now after starting with acrylics.
“Any opportunity to be creative and put my ideas out there — I jump on the chance,” she said.
This is the second time Ulen has participated in the mural project, which she said helps her develop as a painter.
“I always seek those challenges as an artist too, because then you grow and just get experience and get better and better,” she said.
The public is welcome to watch the artists paint their pieces live from noon to 5 p.m. today through Saturday.
The opening reception for the finished mural will be Nov. 11 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and will include refreshments and live music.