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Alpena has wrapped up its 2023 mural painting season and the Downtown Development Authority is already planning for next year. “We just wrapped up our Fresh Waves mural project for this summer, so this year we added six pieces of artwork throughout the district,” says Anne Gentry, Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority, “So it’s been going really well, we’ve heard lots of positive feedback about the different pieces of artwork that’s on display.”

One can find these murals adorning electrical boxes, alleyways, and the walls of local businesses. “So our most recent ones, Mariah Brancheau, who I am sitting by one of her paintings she made for the flower festival for us, she just completed a power box behind Cedar and Threads that says ‘Welcome to Downtown Alpena,’ So that’s the final one of the season,” says Gentry, “But other ones we have completed were behind Noise and Toys, Rusty Petunias, and the next to Hopside Brewery, and then there was another power box that Mariah did as well.”

These new works of art are already having an effect on activity in the area. “I think it just really brightens up that whole alleyway, we’re trying to make it more of a pedestrian friendly space,” says Gentry, “So people can listen to music, events, and things like that. We’ve noticed over the past few weeks, more people walking through the alley way, taking photos of the alley way, and just kind of enjoying the ambiance downtown.”

While the latest mural completed marks the end of the season, gentry and her team are already planning for next year. “We were actually just notified earlier this week that we received a $14,000 grant for next year, so this is exciting because we will be able to do more murals,” says Gentry, “In previous years, we’d only done maybe one or two depending on how many applications we received. This year was our biggest one to date because we received a grant, so we are excited next year to hopefully do even more.”

Applications for both artists and property owners within the Downtown District will open in early 2024 for next season’s murals.