The Arts Are Alive in Bellevue!

The Bellevue Mural Arts Program is a creative placemaking program that incorporates murals designed by locals artists into vacant wall spaces of the main business district of Bellevue.

Special Thanks to Our Donors

  • Revival on Lincoln
  • Missy Wozetek
  • PSquare Scents
  • The Pease Family
  • Anonymous
  • Greg ‘Ta-Da’ Tadda
  • Anonymous
  • Caroline Johns
  • Grant and Lisa Saylor
  • Em & PJ Kemerer
  • RJ & Becky Startzenbach
  • Hepner Family
  • Nikki Brandt
  • Tom Stokes
  • Anonymous
  • Alan Byrne
  • Robin
  • Scott and Trina Streit
  • Courtney Clendennen
  • Jodi Cerminara
  • Christopher Driscoll
  • Susan Stabnau & Roger Powell
  • Christie Strub
  • Chrissy Basile
  • Venczel Family
  • Amy Joy Robinson
  • Wooldridge Family
  • Jeremy Thieroff
  • Joyce Loebig
  • Anya Pikul
  • Michael Domian and Andrea Contes
  • Alisa M.
  • Christine & John King
  • Jeff Stuncard
  • Anonymous
  • Kim and Andrew Uccellini
  • Jillian Edmondson
  • Kaitlin Caviston
  • The Murray-Marcum Family
  • Kaela Speicher Photography
  • Katie Aronoff
  • Sue Vesch
  • Jean L Dennison
  • Theresa Gallick
  • Anonymous
  • +Public LLC

We raised $4,919!

The Bellevue Mural Arts Program is a creative placemaking program that incorporates murals designed by locals artists into vacant wall spaces of the main business district of Bellevue, Pennsylvania. 

The Bellevue Mural Arts Program was initiated by artists RJ Thompson, Kent Kerr, and Jennie Denton. In 2019, RJ and Kent initiated the “Bellevue Believes” research project, which uses interactive design thinking research activities to incite community feedback on the status of Bellevue’s economic development, community development, education, and culture. Throughout these sessions, Bellevue residents, business owners, and stakeholders each shared their vision for Bellevue’s growth. One of the more attainable goals that were captured from this community feedback was the lack of a presence of visual arts in Bellevue and especially on the main business corridor of Lincoln Avenue. Several community members suggested that the development of murals would be a practical, efficient, and tangible way of implementing visual arts into the avenue. In an effort to push this possibility forward and to source as many materials, resources, and manpower as locally as possible, Thompson and Kerr recruited local artist Jennie Denton to produce two mural designs (seen below) intended for community feedback and ultimately implementation. After many members of the public had seen the mural concepts, several stakeholders were excited to participate by offering walls of their properties for use to the murals, believing that change must be visible, apparent, and led by those with resources to create change. John King and Christopher Driscoll co-owners of Revival on Lincoln and Scott Streit, co-owner of 411 Lincoln Avenue (also with King) agreed to donate their spaces on their properties to Bona Fide Bellevue for the purpose of creating a mural featuring Bellevue’s revitalization. What was originally supposed to be a single mural turned into a bigger creative placemaking program named “The Bellevue Mural Arts Program.”

Both Revival on Lincoln and 411 Lincoln properties are situated diagonally across from one another on Lincoln Avenue, resulting in a minor walking tour of both murals. Jennie Denton, a local resident, artist, and designer, has provided the design for the two murals in a “Bellevue quirky” aesthetic that resonates with many different folks throughout the community. RJ Thompson and Kent Kerr, of Bellevue-based design research practice +Public, have donated $500 to pay Jennie for her work. All agree that artists are typically at the forefront of revitalization and that paying them for their contributions builds trust and long-lasting partnerships. Furthermore, Jennie will be able to produce prints and t-shirts of her designs and sell them at Bellevue-based stores and online, with a portion of the sales coming back to Bona Fide Bellevue to continue funding for additional murals. A small army of Bellevue volunteers are at the ready to get painting! 

These two beginning murals, ideally, will set a high standard that reflects the bright and colorful future of Bellevue. Potential sites for future murals include the retaining wall at Bayne Park on Balph Avenue, inside the Center of Bellevue church property, Northgate Junior/Senior High School, and just about any place where people will donate a wall or space. It would be incredible to see large, dynamic, and attention-grabbing artwork painted on walls throughout the entire community. 

The following work is courtesy of Jennie Denton, Lamplight Creative. Artwork subject to change.

Artists RJ Thompson and Jennie Denton will take lead on this project. RJ is leading the conceptual development, community engagement, volunteer recruitment, and fundraising efforts. Jennie will take point on mural designs, artistic direction, teaching, and surface preparation. John King and Scott Streit will provide access to the donated spaces as needed.

Once we have cash in hand, we will purchase paint, primer, and additional accessories required for mural creation, including but not limited to sanding equipment, ladders, etc. Bona Fide Bellevue board members will assist in recruiting volunteers such as local artists, student-artists (under guidance), residents, and entrepreneurs. Since this timeline is somewhat unpredictable because of the weather, teams of volunteers will be needed to produce both murals simultaneously. If we are unable to initiate or complete the two murals within the suggested timeframe, they will be postponed until late spring/early summer 2020. Jennie Denton will produce prints and a complementing t-shirt fundraiser campaign featuring her artwork will also be a critical feature of the mural design and installation process. 

Bellevue, despite having a base of wonderfully talented residents and stakeholders, does not have an active creative placemaking or public art program. While the arts are represented by the Herrmann Museum and Northgate High School, among others, visual art integrated into the main business corridor has a minimal existence. In previous years, there has been a call for more publicly-accessible visual public art with minimal success. Where music and performing arts have a meaningful and long-standing presence in the Bellevue community, visual arts do not. While Bona Fide Bellevue is not an organization solely dedicated to the arts, it does have the capability to serve the arts by way of tapping into the rich and diverse experiences of arts professionals within Bellevue. A recent example of visual arts integration is the mural/facade design for Lincoln Avenue Brewery. This design was privately funded and produced by volunteers within the community. With this example being the leading example of visual arts integration into the main business corridor, the Bellevue Mural Arts Program is well-positioned to carry the spirit of that example forward into new murals created by, with, and for the community.

As Bellevue celebrates a community and economic development revitalization—drawing in new people into the community to experience new restaurants, retail, and more—we need to reinforce that there is an active and growing culture that makes Bellevue worth returning to, time and time again. These two beginning murals, ideally, will kickstart interest in having more citizen artwork featured on vacant spaces in the community and reinforce what so many people already believe about Bellevue—that it’s a place for everyone. A place of all colors and walks of life. A place for creating new lives, friendships, families, and lasting memories of the place they are proud to call home.

Being able to use my illustration and design skills to create impressive murals in the center of our business district has been such an incredible experience. 

Jennie Denton

Owner + Designer, Lamplight Creative

Volunteer Opportunities

Bona Fide Bellevue puts on a number of community-wide events throughout the year in order to provide fun and engaging activities for our residents and/or to attract customers and attention to our shopping district(s).

CLICK HERE TO VOLUNTEER (opens in new window)

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