A new landscape has formed on Mercer Island. The Mercer Island Arts Council put out a call for artists last year for a mural to be painted on the retaining wall that faces the I-90 ramps at Exit 6 on West Mercer Way. The project is one of many funded by the City’s “(1 percent) For Public Art program.”
Rachel Holloway, a local artist, was selected to paint the mural for the project. Holloway has been a muralist, scenic artist, and production designer for the film industry for more than a decade. She and her team of two other artists started the mural Aug. 6.
Her mural “encapsulates” the beauty of nature on the island.
“I sort of sensed that what people would like is a referral to the world around,” Holloway said. “I did get a lot of these little magical moments on Mercer Island where you’re walking around and seeing all this beauty. I just wanted to encapsulate that, that feeling of a timeless place and putting together all the best things.”
Painting a mural on the side of a freeway isn’t as easy as some may think, Holloway said. Without being able to project the images onto the wall, she had to hand-make a template for every single animal and plant in the mural.
It ended up being a blessing in disguise, according to Holloway.
“It’s been brilliant because we were able to just go out with the templates and just start spraying immediately, so mapping out everything was really fast,” she said.
Through the process of painting the mural, she said she has received so much positive feedback and support.
“We get a lot of thumbs up and waving and fortunately nothing really derogatory — but it’s been so positive working,” she said. “The amount of people who are shouting at us, ‘Great job, guys,’ has been so wonderful.”
Holloway hopes people who pass the mural on their way to or from the island feel a sense of peace and tranquility as they see it.
“I know it’s more attractive than a gray concrete wall and I hope that people will feel good seeing it,” she said. “When you’re on your way home you’re sort of honing into tranquility, aren’t you? So you return from the city to nature. It’s a bit of Mercer Island nature sort of welcoming you in and transporting you to that place of beauty and relaxation.”
The mural is now complete and is ready for the public to enjoy. An official unveiling will be on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 4 p.m. with Holloway and her team.