Various artists create 'Hillsboro Happy Days' artwork at Joes Pastime Saloon in downtown.

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: GEOFF PURSINGER - Linda Holland, right, examines one of the pieces of a large new mural display in downtown. The Hillsboro Happy Days mural was mounted on Tuesday along Joes Pastime Saloon.A group of Hillsboro-area artists are sprucing up a vacant lot in downtown this week, with the unveiling a large new mural.

On Tuesday, organizers unveiled "Hillsboro Happy Days," a series of paintings by 10 Hillsboro-area artists, each depicting various aspects of the Hillsboro community,

The 40-foot-long mural was sponsored by Tuesday Marketplace, who provided $1,500 for art supplies for the project.

The mural stands outside Joe's Pastime Saloon, 359 E. Main St., next to a vacant lot. Organizer Linda Holland, who also painted one portion of the mural, said that the splash of color can do a lot to change the otherwise drab gravel space.

"I think it can only do something good," Holland said. "It's a one-way street, so people can see if from their cars or walking or from across the street."

Holland said she was inspired by "Hillsboro Happy Days" the name of the city's annual Fourth of July festival, which ran for decades at Shute Park before 30 years ago.

Holland said the festival was the culmination of everything Hillsboro had to offer; something she wanted to incorporate into the mural and asked artists to paint whatever their image of Hillsboro is.

"I asked people for their memories, and people have a lot of happy memories," she said.

The mural features depictions of Hillsboro's music and wine scene, as well as agriculture, wildlife, Intel microchips, Aztec dancers, Hondo Dog Park and Chief KnoTah, the longtime statue in Shute Park which was removed this year after it was damaged in a storm.

The volunteer artists — including Holland, Michele Fritzler, Merry Goldthorpe, Joshua Gundersen, Elina Zebergs, JanSu Hirtz, Bruce Ulrich, Eli Aviva, Bruce Reed and Jeff Hall — spent weeks working on the projects, painting them in their homes and in public at the Tuesday Night Marketplace.

"It was such a great experience," Fritzler told the Tribune on Monday. "Linda asked us to think about Hillsboro, then she let us loose."

Art, Holland said, has an impact on people.

"Art beautifies the community," she said. "Any time people are touched by art it changes them, in a way. They may not notice it, but they treat people differently after they are touched by art. Art makes people better and it makes the community better. I've lived my life believing that."

Holland has dabbled in public art projects before.

Last year, Holland worked with Tuesday Night Marketplace on a similar project, with 10 portraits of famed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, which went on display at M&M Marketplace on Walnut Street.

That project was meant to represent the combined talents of Hillsboro's Anglo and Latino communities.

That project was such a success, Holland said, she wanted to expand it in downtown, with larger art pieces that came together to form one large mural.

"We were walking through downtown looking at walls that looked like they needed a mural and we all agreed this wall could really use one," Holland said.

By Geoff Pursinger
Associate Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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