Horizontal Murals

This past month’s Upstream Art Project in Springfield was a huge success. Our artist, Shelly, with the help of Gil, our graphic designer, painted for two days straight on unyielding concrete, with finicky road paints, with only a few short breaks.

For this week’s blog, I thought a montage would be more fitting, considering the images mostly speak for themselves. Enjoy!

This was the original art piece…


…which had to be painted upon the bare sidewalk, near a storm-drain.


The storm drain chosen was right in front of the Springfield public library’s back steps, and adjacent to the Springfield museum. In short: lots of foot traffic. Score!

9- Upstream Art- Shelly Dax

To complicate matters further, only five street-grade colors were provided, which had to be mixed and formulated for each artist’s particular color scheme.

3 Upstream Art-Shelly Dax

Especially challenging was Shelly’s desire to have the blue background be water-color-esque, which after much effort she accomplished. Way to go, Shelly!

5 Upstream Art-Shelly Dax

*Here I would like to digress and mention that one early passerby notified us that these pieces, to her, did not constitute murals in the conventional sense, seeing as “mur” is the french word for wall and that one should not call a painting on the sidewalk a mural. Well, in that case, I hereby declare the Upstream Art Project to be an event including street “rue-rals” after the french word for street. Or, as another optional classification, which I politely suggested to her at the time with tongue-in-cheek, how ’bout “horizontal murals?”

Etymology aside, Shelly used stencils of the main components to speed up the process. Ingenuity indeed.


From here, the tedious work set in: filling, shading, outlining…


…more shading.

11-Upstream Art-Shelly Dax

*Since the project was in part inspired by our fishing board game, Reel Me In!, we set up a small table with information, and got to answer questions here and there.

8b Upstream Art-Shelly Dax

The theme for this year’s Upstream Art Project was “Only Rain Down the Drain.” 

12 Upstream Art-Shelly Dax

And the final product, which the city sealed, should last anywhere from three to five years. Not too shabby.

13 Upstrem Art - Shelly Dax

Although it may seem like just a painting on the sidewalk, if just one child ponders the image, which illustrates five sensitive freshwater species, and contemplates the meaning of this year’s theme, or queries their parent on the implications of storm drain pollution, then the project will not have been in vain.

Hope you enjoyed, and keep apprised by subscribing to our email follower list.

We have also started a youtube channel, which we’ll be periodically uploading to. If any of you fisher-people out there have been dying to learn the egg-loop knot, check out our first video and share if you know someone who’d enjoy it.

*Next up, I’ll be discussing the karma card deck in Reel Me In! So, until then, “Play, laugh and be merry.”




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