If you’ve ever walked down the southern end of West Street, you might think it’s a block that’s been put on hold, with long brick buildings broken only by dashes of windows filled with curling, water stained paper marking what was once the bustling Dillon Supply offices. Yet this is setting poised to break loose.
This 200 block of West Street is surrounded by a burgeoning art district with the nearby Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) and Flanders Gallery, as well as VAE and Design Box. And of course there’s the promise of this end of downtown becoming the center of public transit in Raleigh with the plans for Union Station.
Enter BEST (Beautifying Emerging Spaces Together). As a passionately committed group of artists, residents and businesses who feel that they can shape downtown through shared creative expression, this is their idea of a prime location to get the community working together on a huge art project. BEST approached Triangle Transit a few months ago to propose putting a mural on the former Dillon Supply offices, between Martin and Hargett, and impressed with what BEST is all about and their vision, the TTA Board approved the project.
BEST’s Concept for the Mural
We will begin by inviting children to add their handprints and body tracings to a design that will morph into a crowd boarding a train in front of a Raleigh skyscape. Phase II of the mural expands into a sunburst as the Wright brothers’ plane and other flying machines soar over the North Carolina countryside. The theme, whether specifically reflecting Triangle Transit’s role in regional transportation or applying to the limitless potential that we all share, is a spectacular celebration of the ways in which we move forward together.
BEST Raleigh raising funds for the project now
A launch party and fundraiser event is going on THIS FRIDAY at Spy Raleigh. Downtown businesses have joined in this effort by contributing raffle prizes, just as the local arts community has come forward with a large variety of artwork for a silent and live auction. Fairway Outdoor Advertising is one such donor who has supplied a large vinyl banner with a computerized version of the mural that will be placed on the Dillon Building. Come to the event and sign this banner to state your claim on the transformation of this part of town. And if you’re wanting to make a bit more of a statement, a $1,000 donation will get your face on the mural. Large or small, your donation helps pay for the paint, brushes and materials required to bring this block alive.
If you can’t make the event, you can help BEST Raleigh with this project by making a donation from their website.
Visit BEST online at www.raleighemergingspaces.com