DDA receives $14,350 grant to add murals in alleyways this summer

The Alpena Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is excited to announce they have received a grant for $14,350 for their 2023 Fresh Waves mural project. The grant, issued through the Michigan Arts & Culture Council, will allow the DDA to commission large-scale murals and smaller pieces of artwork throughout the alleyways in the heart of downtown this summer.

This summer will be the fifth year of the Fresh Waves mural project, and this year’s project will be the largest one to date. The DDA is targeting three large scale murals and three pieces of smaller painted artwork to be completed.

Adding artwork throughout the alleyways downtown, specifically those that intersect with Second Avenue, will correlate with efforts to make the alleyways pedestrian-only spaces that can be used for gatherings, live music, and other events. The local downtown business community, in partnership with the DDA and the City of Alpena, have been working to transform the alleyway spaces over the last few summers by closing them to automobile traffic. The project is continued to grow this summer with the addition of the murals, planters, outdoor furniture, and string lights.

Artist applications are currently open and must be submitted by April 15, 2023 at midnight.  Artists may submit up to three concepts to be considered to complete large-scale murals or smaller pieces of spot-art. Artwork to be considered need not follow a certain theme or content; rather, it should celebrate artistic vision and freedom. Both local and non-local artists are encouraged to apply. Learn how to apply as an artist here. The DDA will also be opening applications for building owners to be considered whose walls face the alleyways downtown in the next few weeks.

Once artists are selected, painting should take place in July or August 2023. The DDA plans on hosting a celebration event in the alleyway towards the end of the summer when all painting is complete.

About the Fresh Waves Project:

The Fresh Waves Project was started in 2019 by the DDA and artist Aaron Golbeck. Since then, seventeen pieces of artwork have been added to the downtown district (12 free-standing works and 5 full-wall murals) painted by local, national, and internationally-based artists. The purpose of the project to bring unique, one-of-a-kind artwork to Downtown Alpena. In November 2021, Fresh Waves was awarded a “Best Placemaking Project” through the Michigan Downtown Association for the project’s impact on our downtown and community.

Thank you to the Michigan Arts & Culture Council for selecting our project for support this year! The Michigan Arts and Culture Council (MACC) coordinates grants to arts and culture organizations, cities and municipalities, and other nonprofit organizations ensuring that every citizen and community in Michigan enjoys the civic, economic and educational benefits of arts and culture.

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