Community paint-by-numbers projects
All over the country, people are painting on public walls and getting away with it! No, we aren’t talking about graffiti, but rather about paint by numbers. One can get their own gorgeous paint-by-numbers kit here, but if you want to be inspired by a giant version, check out these awesome projects!
A community paint by numbers is a fantastic way to fundraise for a good cause. It’s also just a wonderful way for people to get to know each other. Public investment in local art projects helps build civic pride. Locals feel even more of a sense of ownership when they have a hand in creating that art themselves.
The idea may have come from one of the earliest paint-by-numbers marketing plans. A billboard was set up in a public space with bleachers across from it. The billboard was a giant paint by numbers and the public was encouraged to visit as a new colour was added each day.
Now, the idea is trending in public spaces in cities large and small. Here are just a few examples of successful projects.
Fiona in Cincinnati
This mural may be the first dedicated to a hippo! In 2018, the Cincinnati Zoo held a public paint-by-numbers fundraiser to honour their star hippopotamus, Fiona. First, the zoo put out a call for artist submissions. When the winner – a design by Lucie Rice – was chosen, tickets were sold for a slot on the painting team.
The mural is now proudly displayed at the Rover the Rhine Veterinary Hospital on the corner of Race and 9th Streets.
Natural History in Ann Arbor
Over 350 people contributed to a 30-foot by 9-foot paint-by-numbers project for the Museum of Natural History in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It shows the plants and animals of the Huron River watershed with otters, fish and swans.
Designed by Danijel Matanic, the mural was unveiled to the public in the spring of 2019 when the museum reopened.
Arts at EPCOT
Even the EPCOT center in Orlando, Florida got into the paint-by-numbers business during their 2021 Festival of the Arts. The mural’s art is pixel style, with each block assigned a number. Participants got a brush and their choice of numbered paint colour. The park gave out bookmarks to participants with a picture of the completed mural.
The festival took place from January 8 through February 22. The mural’s theme was Van Gogh inspired and painted on the construction walls surrounding the new addition. The murals will presumably come down once the new area is ready to open up.
Salt Palace in Utah
Utah’s Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City got a makeover community style in the summer of 2018. The piece is a 300-foot section along the wall of an underpass that local artists invited the public to help complete.
Five artists from a city arts initiative called The Blocks drew the outline and filled in hard-to-reach sections. The finished mural features a giant rose in hues of blue and orange.
The editorial unit