Murals adding color to Moxie Festival

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LISBON — Marcea Crawford is adding a touch of art to the Moxie Festival this year, highlighting its Moxie Through the Decades theme.

The artist organized the festival’s first art walk, and created a trio of murals celebrating the event. Two of them are hung on the side of the Lisbon Library. The third is to be installed before the festival kicks off Friday.

“The theme is ‘Moxie Through the Decades,’” Crawford said. “I thought it was kind of an obvious idea that we do different art movements with a little bit of a Moxie twist.”

Using a wheat-paste mixture, the murals will not be affixed to the building permanently. Still, Crawford hopes the temporary art will have a lasting impact on the community — a place where she discovered her passion for art. She cultivated her passion for the subject by taking weekly classes and practicing in different mediums. Crawford hopes her latest endeavor will inspire children in Lisbon.

“It gives us an opportunity to give kids an introduction to art,” she said. “There may be kids in Lisbon who don’t have the ability to go to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston or the Guggenheim in New York.”

Crawford’s works have included plaster sculptures, painting, printmaking and charcoal plaster drawing. She created her latest project using alcohol-based markers to design the murals, and she’s been recently inspired by temporary public art.

“I’m kind of addicted to this right now,” Crawford said. “It’s less pressure to hang something that’s temporary. It works for me, I guess I don’t have to worry about making everything perfect.”

Those passing by on Union Street, however, would be hard-pressed to find an imperfection in the murals. Crawford did notice a small section of the mural starting to peel as she looked over her work, but said it was an easy fix.

The already installed murals incorporate the art nouveau and cubism movement; the third will be an example of pop art. Prior to the festival, Crawford hopes to add a paragraph about each movement to further her idea of giving the community a museum-like experience.

When it comes to the art itself, the vibrant colors bounce off the brick canvas.

“It’s not something we’ve ever had,” said library Director Diane Nadeau. “Our patrons are really enjoying walking up the new sidewalk and seeing them.”

Some day Crawford would like to implement ideas for combining sculpture and murals, but for now she has reached one of her goals with the Moxie project.

“I had done a mural last June with UMA students in Augusta,” she said. “We had designed wheat-paste murals and had a place for them, but it fell through so I just really wanted to do that. I love that it’s temporary. It’s just kind of a fun thing.”

When the town manager approached her with the idea, Nadeau said she was happy to display the local work.

Crawford poured her energy into the mural project all while working toward a bachelor’s degree at UMaine-Augusta; she already has an associate’s degree in graphic design.

The murals took about eight to 10 hours each to create, plus another four hours to print them. Crawford said it took her about an hour to place the first two murals on the side of the building.

When they’re ready to come down, however, there won’t be much cleanup needed.

“They will deteriorate, they’ll start peeling,” said Crawford. “It will come off like wallpaper, but it won’t damage anything underneath. The paste is just boiling water, flour, and a little bit of sugar.”

The inaugural art walk will take place Saturday, providing an opportunity for local artists to display and sell their art. Crawford said organizing the first event had its challenges, including a lower turnout than hoped.

“I think the people that are going to be there are really talented and really awesome,” she said, “so it will spark interest for next year.”

The Moxie Festival will take place Friday through Sunday, with Saturday’s art walk running until 4 p.m. Crawford plans to have prints of the murals in the art area of the festival on Main Street.

Marcea Crawford stands in front of one of the new murals she installed for the Moxie Festival in Lisbon. The murals are visible from Union Street on the side of the Lisbon Library. (Chris Quattrucci/Times Record)

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