Hundreds of community members help paint Anchorage’s newest mural

Pink, blue, yellow and orange paint flowed from brushes and onto canvases recently as more than 600 people helped paint a new mural for downtown Anchorage.

The 40-foot-wide mural will be mounted to the Halfling Building on the corner of Seventh Avenue and E Street this fall.

Each detail of the mural has a purpose, said lead artist Steve Gordon. That includes the shade of the blue background that represents the springtime color of the Chugach Mountains, he said, and the pussy willows that are first to bloom in spring. Gordon said the mural signifies hope and represents the community.

“Hope is this internal resource that helps you get through the hard times,” he said. “It won’t always be winter.”

Community members, ranging in age from 4 years old to 100, gathered at Town Square Park on Saturday and took turns painting the 4-foot square fabric sections.

A team of 48 artist volunteers helped supervise the painting while numerous local businesses donated supplies, food and space. The Hope Wall Mural Project is funded by the Anchorage Downtown Partnership.

Rhoda Baines stood next to a smaller version of the mural that served as an example for painters. Smiling, she pointed to the bright yellow bird in the upper right corner that she helped paint. “I think this is a good thing,” she said.

On Tuesday, Gordon alongside fellow artists, friends and volunteers placed the 70 squares together in a Spenard parking lot to make sure the pieces and design fit as one.

Gordon plans to install the mural in September after some paint adjustments and touch-ups.

Emily Mesner

Emily Mesner is a multimedia journalist for the Anchorage Daily News. She previously worked for the National Park Service at Denali National Park and Preserve and the Western Arctic National Parklands in Kotzebue, at the Cordova Times and at the Jackson Citizen Patriot in Jackson, Michigan.