Unexpected Project Expands To NWA With Mural In Fayetteville

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- The Unexpected Project kicks off in Fort Smith this weekend and this year those in Northwest Arkansas will be able to get a little taste of the public art event.

On the corner of College Avenue and Center Street is the beginning of what will soon be an iconic piece of art. Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz has already begun working in a boom lift and was sketching his mural Tuesday (Aug. 30) on the old Mountain Inn building.

Jerry Bailey has lived in Fayetteville for 18 years and said he has seen the town evolve into a place that embraces public art.

"I think short term it shows we're committed to public art and improving the culture of the area," he said.

Eight other international artists will start working on their murals in Fort Smith Friday (Sep 2).

Australian artist Guido Van Helten will be turning the O.K. Foods Feed Mill into a work of art by painting portraits on the grain elevators. Helton will paint three sides, each side telling a story about the history and people of Fort Smith. The artists will be painting everyday and should be wrapping up their murals by the end of the festival on Sept. 11.

Event organizer Claire Kolberg said painting the wall in Fayetteville is a great opportunity because it is going up on a high-profile building. She hopes it will encourage the Northwest Arkansas community to go to Fort Smith to see the other murals and to see the city as a leader in public art.