On June 6, residents of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, woke up to the city’s first outdoor art gallery, the Oshkosh Mini Mural Project. Large, colorful murals displaying original works from 20 local artists transformed 20 exterior walls around downtown Oshkosh into textured canvases of brick and cinder block.
Oshkosh-based Art City Wraps vice president Joshua Marquardt spearheaded the project. Marquardt is an Avery Dennison certified wrap installer, and with permission of the property owners, he applied the sheets to exterior walls across the Wisconsin city.
Marquardt tells GRAPHICS PRO he became a member of the Oshkosh Arts and Beautification Committee last year, just around the same time the city was releasing its Arts and Beautification Plan, which he says has plans for more murals in the future.
He’s been a part of other public art install and commercial mural projects before. After he saw a similar display in Columbus, Ohio, while attending THE NBM SHOW, he brought his idea to the committee, and the Oshkosh Mini Mural Project was underway.
“The first thing we needed to do was raise some money. I had a lot of experience doing commercial wall graphics, and I was aware of how successful outdoor art murals were in some other cities. So, I suggested we find 20 locations where we could install original works from local artists and create some buzz about Oshkosh being a mural city,” says Marquardt.
To help with the project, Marquardt tells GRAPHICS PRO he reached out to Avery Dennison and Midwest Sign and Screen to dial in the right vinyl and matching laminate. He chose MPI 1405 and DOL 6460 and printed on the Mimaki CJV300-160Plus.
The city provided a planner to locate and access walls and took care of the bureaucratic aspects, which included artist contracts and building owner releases.
That idea became a plan that the Oshkosh Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation got behind, as did the City of Oshkosh, which waived any mural fees. The plan involved Art City and others donating their time, various companies sponsoring the locations, the committee hosting a reception for the artists, as well as artists benefiting from the exposure and the Public Arts and Beautification Community receiving some seed money.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic happened, which meant no reception, no public gatherings, and different charitable giving priorities. The artists had already created their works, and the installation locations were all lined up, so the project continued with physical distancing practices. Instead of creating a fund for the arts, any earnings would go directly to the artists, most of whom were financially impacted by the pandemic.
“I printed everything in a day, let it cure, and then laminated and trimmed it all out,” says Marquardt. “Then, last Friday, at 1 p.m., I started installing and finished around 11 p.m.” He installed just under 500 square feet of film.
“The installation was an event in itself. I had a torch in one hand to illuminate the job while I worked, and drones following us around overhead. A violinist and other musicians were playing in different spots where we were installing the murals. It was a lot of work, but it was fun,” says Marquardt. “If you didn’t know, you would think it was painted on the walls. We’re grateful to Avery Dennison for donating the rolls of film for this project.”
The installations are hung at eye level to mimic a gallery experience. Visitors can use a specially-created Google Map to find all 20 locations. Users can click on a site from the map, and a photo of the installed mural pops up along with the artist’s name. An informational plaque accompanies each site.
Find more information about Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions films at graphics.averydennison.com.
Check out the Mini Mural Project on the Arts Oshkosh Instagram page.