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Public Artist

Talking Artscape, murals, and moving on with BOPA's Gary Kachadourian

Frank Klein
Gary Kachadourian says he does some of his best thinking--and drawing--on the bus.
"Trash Container," one of Kachadourian's series of life-size prints he draws on paper then enlarges to mammoth scale.
A detail of "Motors Installation," a collection of doodle drawings Kachadourian has been creating since he was in junior high school.
Frank Klein

By Tim Hill | Posted 8/12/2009

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CP: Let's talk about some of your favorite public art. There's that one on Howard Street, right? The diamonds, the geometric thing.

GK: I love the diamonds. That's Shaun Flynn. I like those kinds of projects, and I picked that one because it's something I programmed that's still up. I didn't want to [talk about] the murals so much because I haven't done murals in a number of years. About five years ago, the grant person left. So we basically had a void there, and I offered to take over doing the grants and pass the mural program off to somebody else. Doing Artscape and doing the mural program, it was kind of too many projects, and the problem was that they were both summer things. Grants are kind of a winter project. So Shawn James has been running it the past three or four years and doing an excellent job.

One of my favorite projects was the old Lyle Kissack/Gerald Ross African-American steelworkers mural [on Patterson Avenue]. It's kind of like the perfect mural. Fantastic interaction between artist and community. Really excellent community location. They spent about eight months working with retired steelworkers in the neighborhood, a core group of around 10 guys that would get together and talk about the old days. When [Kissack and Ross] would bring [in] wrong stuff, the steelworkers would give them hell: "If he held steel like that, he'd break his arm." The best one was, "You've got a black guy in the crane. The first black guy in a crane was in 1973."

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