A whimsical mural celebrating the wonders of nature and childhood in a downtown Beaverton alleyway is not quite complete, but is already drawing attention from passers-by as well as local photographers looking for a backdrop.
Rebecca Baker, owner of Little Pixels portrait studio on Farmington Road, recently found the almost-finished mural off First Street a perfect setting for taking portrait shots of a local teenage girl.
'Having the mural as the backdrop for this teen model photo shoot added a layer of fun and a magical element, sort of like an urban 'Alice in Wonderland,'' Baker said.
The formerly blank wall behind Pedro's Upholstery has turned brilliantly colorful throughout the summer as creator Angelina Marino and volunteers from the community have added their brushstrokes to the work Marino called, 'The School of Outdoor Learning.'
Marino said the mural is '95 percent' finished, but she is trying to raise $400 in order to complete it by the end of this month.
'I have until the end of September, but I am hoping to conclude it by the end of August,' she said. 'I need only to raise $400 more.'
A Hillsdale resident, Marino has worked with Jayne Scott, director of the Beaverton Arts Commission, and Bridget Coffey, owner of Bohemian Treasures and Art Gallery, to bring the project to life. Marino's artist-sculptor husband, Joel Heidel, also has helped with his expertise.
The project is partially funded through a $10,000 matching grant from the Beaverton Arts Commission.
A $500 challenge grant from the Wikelund Foundation and about $400 donated through a mailing campaign provided further boosts toward the $1,300 Marino needed to raise to complete the mural.
Marino said she drew inspiration from Luther Burbank, a noted early 20th century American horticulturalist, philosopher and author. She was particularly inspired by a passage from his book, 'The Human Planet' that references mud pies, frogs, rocks, sand, snakes and other enchanting natural elements.
'It reminded me of our childhoods, many decades ago, when you'd leave the house and come back at sunset,' she said of the lengthy passage. 'I believe kids are missing a lot of that upbringing.'