BEST PUBLIC ART - 2008
The Merit Wall
The Merit Wall has been a bright spot of authorized graffiti art in downtown for a decade now, but its birth was not an easy one. Merit Printing, the community-involved business that donated the Second Street surface, played local politics for six months to obtain the permits and permissions they needed to turn their wall over to youthful artists. Since then, custodianship of the urban canvas has been turned over to Juxtaposition Arts, a local nonprofit dedicated to getting kids involved in visual arts with programs like the Merit Wall and other donated surfaces around the city. New artists are turned loose on the bricks every year or so. Its current incarnation features a bold mix of colors and themes over a teal background. In early evening, shiny, mirror-like highlights in the painted surface reflect the oranges and reds of sunset, adding unexpected elements to the piece.