Street art is constantly appearing in different parts of Eugene, whether it be large-scale murals, public sculptures or even paintings on the side of trash cans. New pieces sprout up year after year across the city due to constantly-bustling art projects and programs aimed to add artistic perspectives throughout the city.
Currently, the city of Eugene is hosting quite a few different kinds of street art-related projects. There is a mural project that has brought artists from around the world to Eugene to create full-scale murals across many popular buildings throughout town. The 20x21 Eugene Mural Project started as a goal to create 20 murals around Eugene before the IAAF Championships in 2021.
Among the program’s creatives are world-renowned artists, local legends and street art specialists from France, Argentina, the United Kingdom, China, Australia, the Netherlands, Nepal, Spain, Afghanistan, Puerto Rico, Brazil, New York and right here in Eugene. The murals are unbelievably detailed and tell stories of cultures, wildlife, heritage and history, covering the sides of entire buildings like IDX Brokers downtown, the side of First Christian Church and the back of Coffee Plant Roasters.
Famous French street artist Blek Le Rat, one of the trailblazers of stencil street art, created a massive mural on East Broadway that can be viewed from the parking garage at 10th Avenue and Oak Street. The mural depicts Blek’s son wearing a suit and playing a violin with hundreds of small black rats following behind him like a pied piper. While Blek Le Rat was in Eugene to paint this piece, he also put up several small pieces throughout town, like a portrait of Blek’s son on the outside of the Level Up Arcade doors.
Local Eugenian Bayne Gardner created a mural on the side of the Falling Sky Brewery on the corner of Willamette Street and 13th Avenue downtown. This piece depicts a large salmon with hues of rainbow cascading across its back swimming alongside a large ibis bird in electric blue water with the shadows of trees poking through. The colors seem to come to life on the side of the building due to the strikingly realistic representation of the animals. Gardner is famous for his murals depicting different characters from the popular television series “The Simpsons.”
“Rain Play” is a new program run by the city of Eugene that takes advantage of Oregon’s high precipitation and turns it into artistic stencils throughout the downtown area that appear whenever it rains. Images of wildlife, poetry, detailed flowers and a myriad of other figures appear on the ground each time it rains.
There is also a program called “Winter Lights” that turns abandoned storefronts into a canvas for art. Three empty storefronts throughout town now have large screens projecting art throughout the day and night which makes the space seem more lively, as well as creating a space to display local artists’s work. These pieces will be on display until April 1 and can be found at select locations downtown.
It is nearly impossible to walk a few blocks in downtown Eugene and not see a piece of street art. Some pieces have been preserved on the streets of Eugene for decades and others are entirely new. While these are just a few examples, there are hundreds of other pieces throughout the city in places one would never expect to see art.