Brainstorming on how best to activate the 13th Street Alley in downtown Astoria began over three years ago and is now one step closer to completion. Earlier this spring the Astoria Downtown Historic District Association released a Request for Proposals to commission a mural in the space. A review panel comprised of the building owners, a representative for Astoria Visual Arts, a gallery owner, and the chairman of ADHDA’s Design Committee chose three finalists.
Among the finalists were local artists Liz Harris and Andie Sterling with the third finalist, Allison McClay, hailing from Portland, OR. Their proposals were on display for public feedback during the April 2nd Saturday Art Walk and nearly one hundred people stopped to share their opinion.
After reviewing comments, consulting with the review panel, and interviewing the artist, the Astoria Downtown Historic District Association will be commissioning the mural artwork by Andie Sterling.
Sterling says, “For me, this alley in the heart of Astoria was love at first sight. I saw it like a glowing neon light of potential.” The design’s central focus is a mountain range with a lush farmland valley and a tree line in the center of the alley. The organic lines reaching to both entrances draw pedestrians to this focal point using a color palette directly from native elements: salmon, spruce, fir, usnea (lichen), moss, cranberry, velella, fern, reflective colors on the river and ocean.
The next step of the project is to go before the Historic Landmarks Commission in May to acquire a permit for the mural. If all goes well there, ADHDA anticipates the artwork will be completed by the end of June.
The goal of the 13th Street Alley Activation Project, which also includes the light installation of 2018, is to increase pedestrian traffic through the alley to connect Duane and Commercial Streets, as well as to increase safety in this vital corridor downtown.