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Taking turns glancing up at the giant, bare wall inside the 4-H Building at the Curry County Fairgrounds, a group of Gold Beach artists and art enthusiasts met last Wednesday to discuss mural designs.

The Circle of Gold group was formed to design and paint a 500 square foot mural on the north wall of the building, which is used for livestock auctions near fair time, as well as the 4-H archery program and dog obedience classes during other times of the year. Co-organizer Janee Lensing said the group’s name symbolizes the unity of a circle and the history of gold mining in the area.

Lensing said these planning meetings have helped them determine what the community wants incorporated in the mural.

“Basically, we have a blank palette and we have a hundred different ideas of what we could do with it,” said Lensing. “The sky's the limit really. We wanted the whole county to be able to give us input.”

For all of the participants, it was important that Curry County’s diverse landscapes, wildlife, agriculture and landmarks be included in the mural, ranging from Gold Beach’s Isaac Lee Patterson bridge to Port Orford’s cedar forests.

The meetings have also helped the group decide what materials will be used. Instead of painting directly on the wall, participants will paint individual aluminum panels and then combine those panels to form the larger mural. The aluminum panels will allow for a more durable painting, said participant and experienced muralist Meghan Flanagan.

Participant Lisa Shore said a massive blank canvas like this can be daunting, especially if the group does not work as a team, which can be difficult for artists, she added.

“Artists don’t often work in collaboration. It’s a very solitary type individual thing, so it ought to be interesting,” said Shore.

Nevertheless, she was optimistic.

“As long as you lay it out in an organized fashion it should go smoothly,” she added.

So far, the group has raised more than $3,300 from donations from the community, as well as grants from Curry Arts and the Curry County Cultural Coalition.

After the final design is given the green light by the Curry County Fair Board, the project will move into the sketching and painting phase. Community members of all ages are encouraged to participate.

For information, contact Janee Lensing at jllensing@gmail.com, or visit the the Circle of Gold group Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/circleofgold/about

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