New mural puts beauty in the eye of the beholder

Arts Commission considering adding plaque
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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A mural of the Mountain Quarries Railroad Bridge recently painted by local students and the community is drawing mixed reactions. Members of the Auburn Arts Commission said there are no plans to replace the mural on the side of the building that houses Rico?s Barber Shop/Depoe Bay Coffee Co. Building on High Street, but they are looking at ways to improve it. It was designed by local artist Archie Warren, 18, and a student at Sierra College. A paint by numbers approach was used to let the community be a part of finishing the mural, which the arts commission says is one the mural?s strengths and weaknesses. ?We were not totally happy with the initial result because it was not quite as the photographs and the drawing we had seen when we gave Archie the go ahead,? said Mike Holmes, city councilmember and a member of the arts commission. ?We asked Archie to go back and take a look and see if we can?t tighten it up a little bit to make it a little more clear.? Holmes said while the community involvement in the mural was positive, it also contributed to some areas of the painting not being as clear as the original concept. ?Up close it looked like a lot of blotchy paint,? Holmes said. He said since Warren has repainted parts of it, the commission is much more satisfied with the mural. Holmes said the commission will further discuss the mural on Tuesday at its meeting. Kevin King, 18, of Auburn, was near the mural Friday afternoon and said he liked it. ?It has a unique use of color,? King said. ?You wouldn?t imagine the trees being blue and purple, but it also brings out the depth of shadow.? Karen Koklich, of Auburn, said she is newer to town and is a watercolor artist. ?I?m not crazy about it,? Koklich said. Rob Turner, a member of the arts commission, said he has supported Warren?s concept from the beginning, but realizes there are differences of opinions on the mural. He said the commission is considering adding a large plaque to the bottom left corner of the mural because it is the most controversial area. The plaque would be donated and describe the history of the bridge, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary of being used, he added ?Fifty percent of the people that have talked to me liked it and 50 percent of the people have not liked it,? Turner said. ?Art is so subjective.? Turner said the beauty of the mural is that is that it was designed by a local budding artist and the entire community had the opportunity to participate in it, one fact he hopes the community keeps in perspective. ?The entire thing was donated,? Turner said. ?It could have cost us $15,000 but people really rallied together to see this done by students.? Reach Sara Seyydin at, or follow her on Twitter at AJ_News.