DALLAS — Dallas has its wings — specifically 12 of them.

And people want to know why.

It all started earlier this year, when members from the Dallas Arts Association, the Dallas Downtown Association, the city of Dallas, and HomeSmart Realty gathered together to form a committee that would explore a project for a wings mural that would reflect the state’s motto: She flies with her own wings.

“The idea for the Wings interactive art mural project came about after a conversation between myself and Norah Owings, Travel Salem’s destination development manager,” said AJ Foscoli, the Economic Development Director for Dallas. “Norah mentioned some examples of how art is used to beautify communities, and I brought the mural idea to the DAA and the DDA, as well as LaCreole Middle School art teachers.”

From there, the ideas continued to flow as the committee continued to meet.

“It was decided to make this a community project, and have age categories and a contest where the community would vote on the Wings,” said Eddie Nelson, treasurer of the Dallas Downtown Association. “There were over 78 entries. The committee did not want just one muralist to paint a set of wings, but make this a Dallas community project where artists would have the opportunity to bring their artistic talent and share it with the community.”

The entries were narrowed down to 12 artists chosen to paint murals on designated walls around Dallas.

“The committee decided that there would be 12 wings painted so that the yearly Dallas calendar for 2020 would be the pictures of the Wings,” Nelson said. “Additionally the wings would be painted prior to the Krazy Days parade, so the theme for the parade would be the wings.”

Nelson and Monica Johnson, president of the DAA, contacted businesses and building owners about having wings painted on their walls, and signed agreements with them to do so.

When the contest was over and the artists chosen, Johnson, Nelson, and Sheila Peirce, recreation and events coordinator for Dallas, decided which paintings would look best on which walls.

“Some of the walls needed to be prepped before they could be painted on,” Nelson said. “For example, the wall on the Itemizer-Observer building was painted blue by (myself) and (General Manager) Emily Mentzer. After all that, it was time to paint.

Each mural typically took up to two days to complete, with artists hard at work the weekend of June 14-15.

The wings are pretty to look at, but there is more to them than just for show. 

“Ideally, the general public can interact with the murals by standing in the center of the artwork and taking pictures with the wings behind and on either side of them,” Foscoli said. “In addition, during Krazy Days, a passport with stamps will be distributed for people to take pictures of them interacting with the wings, and enter them in a drawing and best picture contest using the #seedallassoar hashtag.”

See the Krazy Dayz Guide (inside or online) for more information on how to join the contest.

“The wings project is a community project,” Nelson said. “It is important for the residents of Dallas to own their city and be a part of creating projects and events that the residents, their friends and visitors can enjoy. The wings will be used for tourism in Dallas and a walking map will be created. All three entities, the DDA, the DAA and the City of Dallas, are working on promoting Dallas as a destination for tourism in the state of Oregon. The wings project is one avenue to bring visitors to Dallas and promote the historic downtown area of Dallas.”

In addition to the artists contributing to this project, Sherwin-Williams, Van Well, and Fast Painting donated the paint for the murals; and other financial contributors included the Dallas Community Foundation and the Urban Renewal District Advisory Committee.

Kev Kohler, the muralist who painted the existing murals in Dallas, worked with each artist as they began the mural, offering hints on which brushes to use and which colors to use where.

Johnson said this project wouldn’t have happened without the help from everyone involved. 

“I want to thank everyone who was part of this project and making it come to life, for everyone in the community to enjoy,” she said. “Watching artists paint for the first time out on those walls for everyone to see was truly special to me; you could see how they were so appreciative of the opportunity. Thank you Eddie, Sheila, AJ, Sarah, the Artists, the Wall Sponsors, our community supporters; Dallas Community Foundation, Fast Painting, Sherwin Williams West Salem, Van Wells Building Supply, Oregon State Credit Union, and Citizens Bank, muralist Kev Kohler, and the community for supporting this project.”

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