A boring beige fence got a much-needed splash of color last week as artists with the ArtBeat, a nonprofit group of the Payson Art League completed a mural just off of Main Street.

Work started Wednesday with volunteers tracing outlines of wildlife found in the area on the wall located between the Messinger Payson Funeral Home and the Canal Senior Apartments, next to the town’s apple orchard.

They then painted in the larger-than-life animals in an array of vivid colors, including javelina, a hummingbird, roadrunner, squirrel, elk, coyote and hare.

Work was set to wrap up Sunday.

The mural is a collaborative effort between the town, Payson Councilor Suzy Tubbs-Avakian, Roadrunner Rubbish Removal and local artists.

“Through our efforts on Main Street and the American Gulch, the idea arose of having this fence painted with a mural,” said Trever Fleetham, economic development and planning manager. “The fence is owned by Roadrunner and Suzy loved the idea, granted permission, and has been a wonderful partner.”

Tubbs-Avakian said when her husband Chris Avakian, who owns Roadrunner, went through community development last year to open a new location for Roadrunner, town staff asked if local artists could paint a mural on the fence.

“My husband was most certainly in favor of the project,” she said. “So far, the project looks pretty amazing and we believe it will add to the American Gulch a beautiful and eye-catching piece.”

Fleetham said the mural looks beautiful.

“We hope this project will build support and traction for additional art installations in the Main Street area, and throughout Payson,” he said.

During the recent Olde Main Street Days, artists painted a decorative crosswalk on Main Street. Two more crosswalks will be painted on Westerly later this month.

In addition, a large mural will be going up on the Sawmill Theatres building.

Local photographer DJ Craig said he and the students in his intermediate photography class at Gila Community College provided the images for the mural by Canal Senior Apartments.

About ArtBeat

Elizabeth Fowler, who is with the ArtBeat board and helped with painting the mural said, “The best part of what ArtBeat is about is the feeling of community and teamwork that it fosters. The vehicle is the art, but the people that jump on board are the best part. There’s a great team of artists donating their time, camaraderie and artistic skills.”

She said the board is where the team work starts. In addition to herself, the ArtBeat board includes Minette Hart Richardson, Carol Quigley, Kathleen Kelly, Jim West and Gail Gorry.

Major sponsors contributing materials to the fence mural project are the Town of Payson, Neumann Paint, Payson Paint, Paint in Color Professionals, Little Stinker Septic and Tim Hummer.

“We have also received help from Printing by George, Ace Hardware, the ReStore, Ironhorse Signs and Personal Computer Solutions. We have very deep gratitude for the fabulous photographers who have donated their wildlife images, DJ Craig Miller and his class at Gila Community College,” Fowler said.

Teresa McQuerrey contributed to this story.

Contact the editor at abechman@payson.com

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