UPDATE: Bike Boulevard artist excited about first street mural project

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 | 8:23 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The artist whose murals will soon adorn two Columbia intersections said she is looking forward to the project.

“I’m feeling absolutely wonderful,” artist Sandra Eccles said Wednesday.

Tuesday night, members of GetAbout Columbia's Street Mural Committee approved her designs for use on Columbia's new Bike Boulevard. The murals be painted on the road at Ash and St. Joseph streets and Windsor and Melbourne streets.

Eccles of Canton was one of three finalists who each submitted two designs for the competition. The committee did not have to select both street murals from the same artist.

"I would’ve been thrilled with just one design,” Eccles said. "I feel it's a great honor to be able to do both."

Eccles said she tried to follow the contest guidelines — such as the theme of urban agriculture — very closely.

“I was trying to be very clear, subject matter wise,” she said.

For example, she said, one design features a sun, people holding hands, and images of gardens and locally-grown foods.

“I was trying to depict a community that was united around urban agriculture,” she said.

At Monday's meeting, committee member Adam Saunders selected that mural to be painted at Ash and St. Joseph streets. The Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, where Saunders serves as president, has a demonstration garden at that corner.

Eccles said her next step will be to visit the mural sites the weekend of July 30. She will then begin preliminary work, such as making templates to help guide volunteer painters.

The mural for Windsor and Melbourne streets, for example, features green branches that will be painted using a template.

Eccles said she also plans to arrive a few days before painting so she can begin drawing the murals out.

She said she is looking forward to working with community volunteers.

"I welcome all ages," she said. "They can bring different levels of enthusiasm and experience."

Eccles said she has painted many murals before, and she is currently working on a massive one in Canton.

“It’s probably 20 to 24 feet tall, and three and a half times that long,” she said.

Painting on the street, however, will be a new endeavor for her.

“This is the first street mural I’ve ever done, and I am so excited about it,” she said.

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