Mountain mural painted at City Hall

by Gwen Barringer IVN contributing writer

Oak-to-art project seeks funding

A new mural has been painted at Cave Junction City Hall that serves as a tribute to some of the unique scenery of the Illinois Valley. This project has been in the making for quite some time, and thanks to RARE AmeriCorps representative Rowan Fairfield and the Main Street Cave Junction program, it has finally been completed.
Fairfield explained that as a part of their AmeriCorp service, they were tasked with getting the Main Street Cave Junction program the support that they needed to launch their efforts this year. Although new murals throughout the town had been mentioned as something that would be nice to have, an impasse was reached regarding the city’s ability to properly compensate an artist for their hard work.
After mulling things over for awhile, Fairfield decided to paint the mural on their own, despite not having much of an artistic background beyond a mural in high school and a few when they were in college. Since their labor is already funded through AmeriCorps, it was a solution that was able to ease the Main Street program’s budgetary concerns. It also gave Fairfield the opportunity to lean into their creative side a bit more and learn about the Illinois Valley in the process.
The inspiration for the piece was drawn from a combination of other “mountain murals” that Fairfield had seen on social media, and the Illinois Valley’s magnificent views. As Fairfield aptly put it, “The mountains that shape the Illinois Valley are particularly beautiful and loved by the community,” a sentiment that many residents undoubtedly share.

Though the design itself is simple, using few colors and low details, the result is a unique piece of art that both Fairfield and the MSCJ program are proud of.
Fairfield is hopeful that their artistic contribution to the Valley will create a vested interest in the creation of other murals in town, and that more artists will soon lend their services to such endeavors down the line.
One of MSCJ’s primary goals is the beautification of the downtown area, and such an effort should indeed include local art that showcases the many beautiful things that the Illinois Valley has to offer.
“I would like to paint one more mural before I leave,” said Fairfield, who is looking for another spot to paint a mural. Fairfield’s Americorps service in Cave Junction ends in August and Mayor Meadow Martell says they will be missed by all at City Hall.
Another beautification project underway for MSCJ is raising money to have the oak tree stump in the I.V. Senior Thrift Store parking lot carved into an art sculpture. The project on the Facebook gofundme page is called “Oak-to-Art Transformation in downtown CJ.”
The following is a description of the project: “Help us bring more public art to downtown Cave Junction! The Main Street CJ group wants to turn the big oak stump behind the IVSC Thrift Store into a unique wood sculpture.
“Earlier this year, the old tree had to be cut down for liability reasons. Since it couldn’t be saved, maybe it can be transformed! The oak is in a very visible place – anyone coming to the CJ Post Office or the thrift store will see it. We want to have a nature theme that celebrates the wildlife of the Illinois Valley, such as river otters, salmon, deer, or bears. We have a few local artists ready and willing to tackle this project.”
If you would like to donate, the link is https://www.gofundme.com/f/oaktoart-transformation-in-downtown-cj.