Fun is All Around - Willow Park
Willow Park is surrounded by an economically and ethnically diverse neighborhood. The park is comprised of a series of sports fields where soccer, softball, and kickball are played. One purpose of this mural is to increase people’s involvement with these activities in the park.
The images in the mural envelops the Equipment Storage Building work on two levels: Primarily, the mural affirms the positive, life enhancing qualities of physical activity. Secondly, the mural celebrates nature and being outdoors. Most of the ball fields are set back from Willow Road, making the activities of the park somewhat hard to discern. The Equipment Storage Building is an unassuming, rectangular equipment storage building situated in the middle of the ball fields, standing 41’ X 25’ X 9’ tall. The mural covers all four sides of the building with images of people engaged in soccer, kickball and softball.
The people represented are of various ages, genders and ethnicities. The mural is inclusive and welcoming and is intended to serve as a magnet to bring people into the park. It is also meant to say to the neighborhood that this space is valued. This mural is graphic, readable, and highly visible from the street. All of the images are meant to be of clear, recognizable subjects that will attract people’s attention from 300 feet – the distance to the heavily travelled Willow Road. These depictions of actual individuals artist Beth Edwards photographed in the park and in the neighborhood. Intermixed with these sports images are large flowers and butterflies. These images are interspersed with and connected to the sports images on three sides of the building. The flowers and butterflies are included to provide visual variety and to reflect the beauty of nature and the joy found in being outdoors.
About the Artist
Beth Edwards was born in Decatur, Alabama in 1960. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tyler School of Art and her Master of Fine Arts from Indiana University. She has exhibited at Gallery NAGA in Boston, the Clark Gallery in Lincoln, Massachusetts, the Leonard Tachmes Gallery in Miami, the Plus One Plus Two Gallery in London. She is represented by David Lusk Gallery in Memphis and Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee. Her work is in numerous public and private collections including the Howard and Judith Tullman Collection in Chicago, the Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis and the Tennessee Arts Commission in Nashville. Her work appeared in New American Paintings in 2001, 2004 and 2011 and was twice featured on the cover. She has been a fellow at the MacDowell and Yaddo artist colonies. She has taught at the University of Memphis since 2000. The Willow Park mural was her first public commission.