Painter’s Alley is a public grafitti wall established in downtown Hastings MI in the Fall of 2023. Situated in an alley just north of the intersection of Church and State Streets, it is intended as a free and legal graffiti space for local and regional writers and street artists. The project was initiated by building owner Mark Hewitt of Miller Real Estate, coordinated and prepared for public use by myself, and supported and facilitated by the Thornapple Arts Council under the direction of Megan Lavell. It was officially opened for business on 1 October 2023.
The first phase of the project involved the painting of the 1850 sq. ft. mural overhead. The mural was painted over five weeks between 21 June and 27 July, 2023. Due to a delay in the planning and construction of a second wall and painting surface, required for the security of the adjoining property, the mural was completed 9 weeks in advance of the announcement and opening of the graffiti wall. In the interim, the resulting public reaction was a mixture of appreciation, curiosity and pronounced anxiety verging on hysteria, drawing attention from both the local press and regional ABC Affiliate WZZM-13.
The ‘big reveal’, which was to be a literally blank wall, was preempted by overnight contributions from three separate artists in the 36 hours between the completion of site work on Saturday evening and our planned announcement on Monday morning.
The project could not have been completed without the help of Phillips Tax & Accounting, who graciously co-host the site, the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, who helped fund the project through its Community Partners Grant, and the generous support of the Hastings DDA.