The Delta Bike Project unveiled its new outdoor mural at noon Aug.8 to a crowd of cyclists, artists and supporters.
Delta Bike Project (DBP) founder Jeff DeQuattro welcomed community members to admire the painting, which depicts scenes familiar to Mobile. A press release for the DBP called the mural an effort to “bring art and community to a formerly blighted corner of downtown Mobile.”
With the painting’s clear blue sky overlooking landscapes inspired by the Mobile area, DeQuattro praised the mural as a success.
“This is huge for the city of Mobile, and we’re very thankful to have such good a relationship with all of the 20 or so artists who worked on this,” DeQuattro said. “This is a big honor for the Delta Bike Project, and we hope that you can enjoy this corner a little better, this neighborhood a little more.”
The DBP partnered with over 20 artists and nearly a dozen sponsors to make the mural a reality. Kathy Friedline, one of the chief muralists on the project, spoke at the unveiling event about how the artists connected with each other, their artwork and Mobile itself.
“There are so many elements and so many details that we can’t name them all, but all of them represent to us our community, our Mobile and our home, and I think that’s what makes this mural special,” Friedline said.
Work began on the mural July 16. The ever-rotating cast of artists worked an estimated cumulative 750 hours, finishing the artwork three weeks later on Aug. 6. The DBP press release explains that the “beauty and people of Mobile” inspired the mural. The theme of the artwork, “Let’s be Mobile,” sits prominently in the center of the painting as a call to the city’s citizens to “move forward as one.”
With so many artists collaborating on the mural, some wondered how so many varying styles would come together to form a cohesive whole, according to Friedline.
“But as it progressed, that kind of became part of the mural because it was a community of artists, really, and it reflects that this community of artists came together to give this gift to the larger community,” Friedline said.
Spectators and passers by will recognize certain local icons represented in the artwork. From a family picnic featuring a Moe’s BBQ take-out bag to a cyclist’s jersey sporting Callaghan’s logo to the old-fashioned Wintzell’s restaurant, the mural highlights many local staples and favorites.
Friedline hopes more Mobilians can relate to the painting and feel connected to it and their home city. She told a story of how a mother and daughter would ride their bicycles by the mural every day to see the painting grow and change. The new scene on one particular day – a woman painting on a canvas – resonated with the mother.
“That scene caught her eye and she said, ‘Wow, that looks like our house. It’s got the same porch and it looks kind of old,’ and to me, that just summed it all up. There it is, it looks like our house, our home, our community, our Mobile,” Friedline said. “And so, let’s be Mobile.”
The Delta Bike Project sits at the corner of St. Francis and North Warren Streets in downtown Mobile, and the mural faces Warren Street. The Delta Bike Project is a “do-it-yourself” bicycle shop open on Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m. and Tuesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m.