6 artists, 3 weeks painting 3 shipping containers

Although the Glens Falls Planning Board was unable to act on any agenda items at the most recent meeting — staff had not advertised the public hearing properly — Eric Unkauf of The Shirt Factory is getting closer to hosting “Muralthon,” or what he calls a marathon of painting murals, from July 20 to Aug. 10 on his property at 18 Curran Lane. The address is the home of the Rock Hill Bakery and Cafe. He owns the property.

Three shipping containers will be the canvases for the murals, and Unkauf needs permission to place the 40-foot-long containers in position.

Although they could not officially vote on the layout of the containers, a requirement for outdoor art installations, the board expressed approval for the idea and will take it up in another meeting, but only after the painting begins.

“This board has been pretty much in favor of the murals that have been proposed to this point. Again, I don’t see much of an issue with what is being proposed here since the structures are sitting on the ground,” Planning Board Chairman Ethan Hall said.

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This is the first planned Muralthon. Unkauf plans on holding them annually.

“We’re talking about doing six murals with two on all three container boxes all facing in towards the Rock Hill (Bakery and Café) and each one is done by a different artist,” Unkauf said.

The containers will be divided up into 10 foot sections, or two blank sections and two painted sections along one side of a 40-foot container, they are planning a 10-foot section, a blank section, another 10-foot section, and then another blank section. Then those blank sections will be painted during the mural festivals in years to come. The back sides will be painted green and act like a fence along the property line.

Unkauf proposed the idea of the city working with a local nonprofit of mural artists to create a garden of murals, which would be called Muralgarten at the May meeting. Two containers on the property are already painted.

Muralthon is also not run by Unkauf alone, there is a board comprised of Unkauf, Hannah Williams, Kendra Farstad, Tom Myott, and Matthew Martindale.

The artists are Rachel Henrich, Anthony Richichi, Lexi Hannah, Jade Warrick, Rodney Allen Bentley, and Jenny Hutchinson. Unkauf said the murals won’t have a theme, as he isn’t looking to put limitations on an artist.

Right now the project is soliciting corporate donations to cover the cost of the six artist stipends of $1,650 each.

“A lot of muralists, the stuff they actually get commissioned to do and the art that they do for themselves are two wildly different things…When you give them a project they are passionate to do, you’re going to wind up with that much better of a project because they really want to invest themselves in the final product,” he said.

The ultimate goal for Unkauf is to create a destination spot within Glens Falls. Hopes are high for a day to come when people visit the area to see all of the murals and more for him.

“I would hope for some point in the future, I can’t tell you when, but some point people hear about Muralgarten and they’re going to plan a trip because of it and see what else is around versus the way it happens now where they’re planning a trip to someplace else that’s here and this is on the discovery list,” he said.