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BRATTLEBORO — A mural to be made on High Street by a diverse group of local artists with community input will need some financial support to unlock funds from the state.

“The project is taking off,” said Jamie Mohr, director of Epsilon Spires. “We’ve had some great people donate so far.”

Mohr is working on the project with First Proof Press and five refugees who are members of the ArtLords, an internationally renowned Afghan artist collective. She said the project is meant “to transform the dilapidated wall along High Street” and “beautify our downtown with beautiful public art that sparks local pride, supports cultural tourism in our region, and inspires a sense of community co-ownership of our public spaces.”

A crowdfunding effort is underway at patronicity.com/project/empowering_community_mural_to_beautify_high_street. Epsilon Spires secured a grant through the Better Places program that will match every dollar with two.

Better Places funding is provided by the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development in partnership with the Vermont Community Foundation, the Vermont Department of Health and Patronicity.

Mohr said $8,000 has to be raised by Aug. 26 in order to get $16,000 in matching funds. She and her partners in the project are promoting the effort via social media, signs and other communication.

“I’m doing a lot of campaigning with letter writing and reaching out to other organizations that I think would be interested in contributing,” she said. “It’s kind of stressful, where you’re like, I hope we can make it.”

Despite her worries, Mohr believes the group can reach the fundraising goal. By Monday, about one-third of the project cost had been raised. The crowdfunding campaign went live July 26.

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“I’m just hoping public enthusiasm doesn’t wane,” Mohr said.

Public input on the design will be sought at a meeting at River Garden Marketplace. Community members also can vote on color schemes, which will correlate with the four seasons.

Whetstone Station will feature the project as part of its charity bingo night from 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 24.

Anyone donating more than $500 can choose an endangered species in Vermont to sponsor to be painted on the mural.

“When we have the unveiling ceremony and party with Afghan film and music, we’re going to have these little treasure maps that kind of map out these endangered species and who sponsored them,” Mohr said.

Providing means for feedback gives people a sense of ownership of the project, Mohr said, “then the community feels involved in the process and hopefully that will be a big push to meet our goal.”

So far, she’s received what she called an overwhelming positive response.

Mohr sees the mural as a major improvement in aesthetics on the wall, which has been scrawled with graffiti.


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