LEWISTON — A new mural celebrating walkable streets and downtowns will decorate the Canal Street side of the Centreville Parking Garage by the end of the month, councilors agreed Tuesday.

Melanie Therrien of the Union of Maine Visual Artists Lewiston-Auburn branch said the group hopes to have the artwork painted and in place before the final LA Arts Art Walk on Sept. 30.

“It would be about safe streets, safe places to walk and bike alongside people driving a car,” she said.

Therrien told councilors the mural, sponsored by Healthy Androscoggin, would be painted on wood and attached to the wall. The city is not paying for the art, but Therrien said she needs city approval to place the pieces.

“Local artists are just trying to give back to the community and help make it a better place to live through art,” she said.

It is part of a series of projects the arts group has sponsored locally this summer. The group decorated downtown Lisbon Street’s sidewalks for the first Art Walk of the season in June. The group also designed the hot dog stencil used to make the themed crosswalk in front of Simone’s Hot Dog Stand.

Therrien said they also decorated three Lisbon Street fire hydrants in the past week — at 199, 297 Lisbon St. and at Lisbon and Chestnut streets.

Therrien said she painted the Chestnut hydrant, which is near her studio, to look like a koi fish.

“The city had to paint it anyway, so we offered to do it,” she said “Now it’s a lot easier to direct people to my studio and just say, ‘Turn right at the koi fish.'”

Councilors said they like the idea. Councilor Michael Lachance said he was originally concerned that the mural would be painted directly on the garage’s brick.

“Down the road, that might really hurt the brick or make it hard to remove and repair,” Lachance said. “But putting it on some kind of substrate is awesome. It’s exactly what I was thinking.”

Councilor Kristen Cloutier said she welcomed the project, as well as the decorated fire hydrants.

“I think it adds one more dimension to the public art plan for the city overall,” she said. “With the murals, the sidewalks, cross and now this, having you guys do the painting might help deter graffiti and also promote art.”

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