The same folks who brought a giant owl to the side of a decrepit building off the square, catching eyes and prompting numerous selfies, will soon create five more murals or installations around town.
The Advertising and Promotion Commission agreed last week to a contract with Justkids, a public art production company most notably associated with the Unexpected Project in Fort Smith. The two-year endeavor produced dozens of murals and installations in Fort Smith, and Justkids also curated the large owl painted on the side of the old Mountain Inn building at Center Street and College Avenue in Fayetteville.
The general terms of the contract would have Justkids hire five artists, at least two of whom would be local, to create five semi-permanent artworks in yet-to-be determined locations. The artists would work on the pieces all at once from Aug. 17 to 27, leading up to the Roots Festival.
Justkids will coordinate, organize and supervise the production of the art. Officials with Experience Fayetteville, the city’s tourism bureau, will work with Justkids and property owners to determine where the pieces will go. Experience Fayetteville also will find a hotel to put up the out-of-town artists.
In 2015, the commission set aside $100,000 for a public art initiative. The agreement commissioners approved last week would pay Justkids $73,184, although the contract still has to be finalized, according to the commission’s attorney, Vince Chadick.
The money from the contract will go to Justkids, who in turn will pay the artists. Chadick said the commission’s bylaws didn’t require a public bidding process.
— Stacy Ryburn