Words to Live and Bike By - Inspire
Date created: Sep 25, 2023
'Inspire' was painted and designed by former Marquette Public Art Commission member Linnea Gustafson. MPAC members Tracy Wascom and Lauren Tilma assisted in painting the mural along with local artist Belle Lagrou.
Linnea Gustafson, helped head the original “Words To Live and Bike By” project that was planned the summer and painted in the fall of 2020, in the midst of the COVID Pandemic. The original hope behind the project was for MPAC to sponsor and support a project that was open to several community members and organizations, that could safely be carried out during the pandemic. At the time we were all looking for ways to lift others spirits, and spread joy and positivity… words one should try and live by; yet, they could be “biked by,” or walked by on the Holy Greer Multi Use Trail, aka Bike Path; hence “Words to Live and Bike By” was born.
In the first phase MPAC choose the words. Public Art has a history of transforming even the roughest neighborhoods into better safer places. “My first thought was how McCarty’s Cove was trashed over the fourth of July weekend two years in a row, so I really wanted to put the word “Respect” in that location,” Gustafson said. Since Stella Larkin painted it there in the fall of 2020, we have not had the same issue with the litter being left on the beach! Also, for those of us that have grown up here, we all know that Lake Superior needs to be respected, and for those to always take caution when swimming in it. There have been numerous lives lost further down the beach by Picnic Rocks, and the word “respect” also heeds warning to respect the lake. Other words that were chosen in the original phase were “Remember” in Founder Landing, “Dream” by the playground at Mattson Lower Harbor Park, “Hope” at Clark Lambrose Park, and “Gratitude” near the Commons where the Farmers Market is held.
For the second phase, MPAC thought it would be nice to try something different and designate the space, but leave the word choice open to the artist. We also wanted to pick new locations that were not so focused on the lake, but further entwined in the community.
Linnea Gustafson had served for four years on the MPAC, since inception, until February of 2023. Since MPAC decided to do a second phase of “Words To Live and Bike By” they also wanted to contribute as several members are also artists, and/or art educators. MPAC suggested the word “Inspire” to go in South Marquette, near Superior Hills Elementary School and appointed Linnea Gustafson to come up with a design on behalf of MPAC, that MPAC members chairperson Tracy Wascom (NMU Art Professor), and Lauren Tilma (Art Educator at North Star Academy), also helped Gustafson paint the design.
Linnea Gustafson is a past MPAC member, and currently is the Elementary Art Teacher at Lakeview Elementary School in Negaunee. “I wanted to include things that inspire me, and other artists; in hopes to inspire youth! I wanted it to be colorful and playful to appeal to all.” You will see references to “Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh; Piet Mondrian in the “E,” and contemporary artist Jen Stark in the colorful drips. I also thought about how nature, shape, form, and color influence artists regularly and included them in the playful design. Even though my term is up at MPAC I will continue to be a supporter and advocate for public art, and art education. I am very proud to say that I am a past member of MPAC.
This is the second round of The Words to Live and Bike By project: text-inspired, site-specific murals on the surface of the Holly Greer Bike Path in Marquette. Applicants were asked to submit words and accompanying design proposals inspired by selected sites. This project was funded by the City of Marquette Public Art Commission and coordinated by the City Office of Arts & Culture.