By Jenny Neyman
The Kenai Peninsula has moved another phase closer to having its own original artwork decorating a public space, depicting a vision of “Life on the Kenai.”
The Paint the Kenai mural project has moved into its second stage of community voting, asking people to continue to narrow down mural contenders and suggest locations for the final selected design.
Twenty-three mural designs were submitted by peninsula residents over the winter and spring, and went on display as a summer art show at the Kenai Convention and Visitors Center in May. People viewing the show have been asked to vote on which mural design they’d like to see painted large scale out in the community. The first round of voting closed June 14, from which the top 12 vote-getters were named the semifinalists — “Coastal Community: Life-Giving Waters” by Erica Miller, “It’s All Good on the Kenai” by David Hartman and Lee Salisbury, “Spirit of the Kenai” by Cynthia Hemphill, “Living on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska” by David Hartman, “Kenai La Belle” by Fanny Ryland, “Kenai’s Identity” by Paul Tornow, “Mother Kenai” by Amy Kruse, “Tern Lake — Crossroads of the Kenai” by Scott Sherriti, “All in a Great Weekend” by John Winters, “Peaceful Town” by Sarah Baktuit, “View Finder” by Jan Sherwood and an untitled piece by Anna Widman.
The second round of voting to further narrow the 12 semifinalists is ongoing through July 26. Peninsula residents can also now suggest locations for the mural. Location nominations will be accepted through July 26. Suitable sites should have good public access and good exposure for a wide audience, but nominators don’t have to do anything more than suggest a spot. Paint the Kenai organizers will vet the locations, evaluate logistics and determine whether permission could be obtained from property owners.
Once suggested mural locations are determined as to suitability, one spot will be chosen for a 12-by-24-foot mural, chosen by peninsula residents from the 12 semifinalists, to be painted permanently on display. Once chosen, the Pen the Kenai writing submission also will be put on permanent display with the mural.
Location submission forms are available at the Kenai Convention and Visitors Center, which is also where peninsula residents can vote in the semifinal round of mural selections. At the end of the summer the selected mural, writing and location will be announced. A book commemorating the Paint and Pen the Kenai Projects also will be produced by the project organizers — the Soldotna Rotary Club, Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, and the Redoubt Reporter.
Marcus Mueller, president of Soldotna Rotary, said he’s been very pleased with participation in the project thus far.
“Every time I’ve been over there there’s been people over there looking at the show, and I’ve heard lots of good feedback,” he said. “(I hope people) just continue to celebrate the ideas and the works and the people and the place.”
For more information, contact Mueller with Soldotna Rotary at 398-1122, or visit Paint the Kenai on Facebook.