Vivid displays of color, shape, and beauty are popping up across Pullman, thanks largely to the talents of a group of muralists at Washington State University.

Students and faculty in the fine arts department have worked in recent months with other artists in the community to create a vibrant bouquet of public art on walls of buildings at the center of town and at the Palouse Discovery Science Center on Nelson Court. Six more murals adorn the playgrounds at two local elementary schools.

Joe Hedges.

From still life realism to geometric designs, the painted walls are more than mere eye candy—they’re also teaching and learning tools for the artists and viewers, said muralist Joe Hedges, WSU associate professor of painting/intermedia and a strong advocate for art in public places.

“Public art is vital to a community. It makes a place more interesting—more colorful in many ways—and it sparks conversations between neighbors,” he said. “Projects tend to connect business owners and community stakeholders with people and ideas they may not otherwise encounter. The value is as much in the conversations and coalition building that happens behind the scenes as it is in the final result.”

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