On Saturday, August 17, Debi Richards, Longview resident and manager of the St. Helens Shopping Center, could not stop smiling.
Patrick Carrico, an artist and Cathlamet resident, along with several volunteers, was hard at work on a mural that had been commissioned by the Cowlitz County Health Department and the shopping center for the west side of Richards’ building along 30th Avenue, a busy street in the low income neighborhood.
Cars slowed and cameras flashed. People stopped to gawk and talk or volunteer. Paintbrushes were placed in little hands and old ones. Neighbors and customers were obviously excited. One woman on a bike ride stopped and asked, “Can anyone help?” Five minutes later she was brushing strokes of green on the wall.
“Increasingly you see cities turning to murals,” Carrico said, “to address some of the unsightly issues caused by a rough economy.
"Mural painting is a great way to involve kids and the community in staking a claim to their home. I am awed and humbled by how the Highlands community accepted my vision and showed up and got dirty with me. I am looking forward to getting back to painting on a new project.”
The mural was a study on the history of food in the area, beginning with the hunting and gathering of Native Americans and culminating with the modern age.
St. Helens Shopping Center was selected for “its dedication to providing healthy options for shoppers and improving the overall health of the community.”