The drab railroad bridge viaduct at Davenport's 5th and Harrison streets is being transformed into a bright, vibrant sea scene, thanks to the imaginations and artistic skills of 17 area young people.
The mural on either side of the so-called "truck-eating bridge" is a project of Metro Arts, sponsored by Quad-City Arts, Rock Island.
Students were chosen for the mural project through an application process, then spent one week brainstorming ideas. That was followed by presentations to a design oversight committee of the Downtown Davenport Partnership, which selected one of four proposals to be painted, Jessi Black, of Quad-City Arts, explained.
Called "Create Your Sanctuary," the chosen entry stars a pencil-wielding octopus drawing a home, or a place to be comfortable, said Zac Russell, 19, of Rock Island, one of the four who came up with the idea. Bright coral and fish round out the scene.
The first step in painting the mural was to prime the grubby concrete with white. Next the students drew a grid of 2-foot squares on the viaduct, corresponding to their drawing of 1-inch squares on paper.
This week they began applying the color, which is expected to tak about two weeks. The mural will extend about 45 feet on either side of the bridge.
The students work 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, under the mentoring direction of Sarah Robb of Davenport, a professional mural artist.
The purpose of the program is to give students interested in the arts an opportunity to learn more about an art form, work together as a team and be accountable for a job, Jessi Black, community arts director for Q-C Arts, said. The program is in its 14th year.
Applicants may be 15-21; they are paid a $300 stipend for the five weeks.
In addition to the mural group, there are three other Metro Arts projects — a ceramics studio at the Family Museum, Bettendorf; dance at Ballet Quad-Cities; and a vocal performance group at Quad-City Theater Workshop, Davenport, Black said.
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