The goal of Design Journal 6 was to find a piece of public art in Oswego. Evee and I traveled around downtown Oswego and found the Springboard Murals. The murals were started in 2009 by the Oswego YMCA as a way to address graffiti in the city. The west riverwalk, prior to 2009, was known to be a hot spot for graffiti and vulgar drawings. The mayor at the time, Mayor Randolph Bateman, did not know how to combat this and kept receiving complaints from residents about how horrible it looked. The mayor would then walk around the area to see what else had been done. He noticed that there was a mural that was painted on the east side of the river and it was untouched but other graffiti was around the mural. It created a concept that would bring the community together. Mayor Bateman along with the Oswego County Arts Collaborative, Oswego School District and the City-County Youth Bureau created the Springboard Murals.
The idea was that if they could get younger kids to have productive paintings that benefitted the town then it would combat the vulgar graffiti. People of all ages and abilities could submit artwork and in the first few years, only seven people were chosen. Most of the individuals were high schoolers who were more at risk for graffiti art. Now in the tenth year of holding this event, between fifteen and twenty individuals are chosen based on their submissions to the Oswego Common Council. Citizens and visitors alike have fallen in love with the artwork and it creates even more interest in participating. A lot of businesses in the area have donated to the project with painting supplies and donations for other supplies that are needed. There is so much participation that they are running out of space and are now currently looking at other locations to continue the project.
Currently, the only people viewing the artwork are the fishermen lining the riverwalk as Evee and I climbed over the mounds of snow to only see half the artwork. From what we could tell the artwork is usually based on what people like to do, their favorite parts of the city, and their own heritage. When looking around for graffiti that was not part of the project very few could be found, and most was just signatures. During the late-summer time, the councils hold a small celebration to congratulate the artists of that year and to show off other artwork from past years.
These various artworks that have created an ever-growing mural have added to the serene environment of not only the river leading to Lake Ontario but also has shown how close the community is. Every year students and citizens alike come together to share in the beauty of their community. this creates a dialogue between all and greater understanding of each person. Oswego is a huge area and not everyone will know each other but this is something that opens to door for many individuals. When the Fall 2019 semester begins, I will certainly be going down to the west riverwalk to view this year’s picks for the mural.
All photos by Delaney
Broom, D. J. (2010, August 28). Oswego students beautify west riverwalk. Retrieved March 10, 2019, from https://www.syracuse.com/news/2010/08/oswego_students_beautify_west.htmlWood, B. (2018, April 18).
Designs sought for 10th year of Oswego Springboard Mural Project. Retrieved March 10, 2019, from http://www.oswegocountynewsnow.com/news/designs-sought-for-th-year-of-oswego-springboard-mural-project/article_1570011e-4289-11e8-a7c6-cfd21c0026a0.html