New mural brightens downtown gateway while deterring graffiti

Mural depicts salmon and orca swimming upstream along north Forest Street

September 02, 2021 - by Darby Cowles, Planning and Community Development

A new mural is underway at the north Forest Street entrance to downtown Bellingham, a project designed to showcase the work of local artists and deter graffiti.

A jury of local artists, designers and downtown advocates reviewed 13 submittals and selected a piece for this location designed in a collaboration between prominent downtown muralist Gretchen Leggitt and Lummi artist Jason LaClair.

The mural depicts salmon and orca swimming upstream along the one-way street. LaClair’s signature salmon and orca are chiseled from the lines, shapes and colors that pay homage to his native roots while also integrating his own artistic style. Leggitt weaves her colorful water lines throughout the murals, creating an energetic, colorful and harmonic backdrop for LaClair’s striking fish.

The north Forest Street retaining wall has been a target of graffiti requiring extensive City maintenance resources over the years. Funding ($20,000) from the City’s street maintenance budget was reallocated toward graffiti prevention, creating an opportunity for local artists to showcase their work. Mural installations elsewhere downtown have been very successful in deterring graffiti while adding interest and providing a medium for local artists to display their talents.

Forest Street mural

Media Contact

Shannon Taysi
Planning and Community Development

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