Milford groups seek mural artists for Walnut Beach project

MILFORD — The heart of the Walnut Beach area will soon be getting a face lift.

The Walnut Beach Association, Walnut Beach Arts and Business Association, the Milford Arts Council and the MAC’s Firehouse Gallery are teaming to provide funding for a unique beautification project — one that will end with a mural on the building at 36 Naugatuck Ave., near the intersection of East Broadway.

The project calls for an artist to do a mural on the building. Interested artists are asked to submit their designs, and a panel will make the final call before work begins.

“Because the neighborhood considers itself an arts and business district, and it has a history as being a tourism destination, with the old amusement park that used to be there,” said Paige Miglio, executive director of the MAC.

“With all the events they have businesses have adopted the mermaid as their mascot,” Miglio added, “but we're looking for any kind of beachy, uplifting theme, and it can be anything from abstract to pictorial.”

The mural aims to connect with the businesses on Broadway and Naugatuck Avenue, near the intersection, inviting visitors to stroll and linger, while enjoying all aspects of the area, said Miglio. It will also provide an improvement to the visual impact of the neighborhood on the surrounding businesses and visitors.

This is not the first time the MAC has worked with other agencies to commission a mural painting.

“The Firehouse Gallery is a city-owned building that we lease,” Miglio said. “We did the mural with feedback from the businesses and residents in the area. We took suggestions, and from that John (Paul O’Grodnick) came up with this design, and once he showed me what it was going to look like, we had the confidence he would do something beautiful.”

The experience at the Firehouse Gallery has made businesses and residents of Walnut Beach more open to ideas that would come from the artists.

“When we did the mural on the side of the Firehouse Gallery, people were really nervous because John is an abstract and graffiti artist,” said Miglio. “I think he took the theme of the beach, and people have come to love it.”

The MAC is looking for one artist or a couple of artists who would be working on a design together. Miglio said that if a couple of artists decide to come together to do the mural, they would have to split the artist's fee themselves. The winning mural design will be selected on or before May 20.

“We have about a month, our submission deadline is May 9, and we are hoping the artists will have the time to get the mural done between May 21 and June 21,” she said, adding that submissions should be sent to info@milfordarts.org. “We want to unveil the mural on National Make Music Day that falls on June 21.”