OTTAWA — Inspired by a similar painting in Nashville, Anita Pierce put her own spin on her latest mural creation.
“I saw the one they did in Nashville with Taylor Swift,” Pierce said. “I said, 'Ottawa (needs one).' I had the opportunity to do (a painting) on this wall.”
A crisp, white wall was the canvas for the mural, which is now displayed on the backside of the building at 106 S. Main St. The mural ties in to a plan to place even more similar painting throughout the city. The latest creation, which was commissioned by the Ottawa Main Street Association, depicts a similar painting near Fourth and Main streets by Ottawa artist Bill Howe.
Lenni Giacin, Ottawa Main Street director, said the plan for more butterfly murals is still in the works, but in the meantime, several downtown businesses — adjacent to the new Legacy Square in the 100 block of S. Main St. — want to beautify the outside of their buildings with similar paintings. The subject initially was butterflies but may eventually focus on the beautification of downtown.
“It has gotten everybody excited about doing more murals downtown,” Giacin said. “We wanted to do it because everywhere people are using selfies to promote (other cities).”
Giacin said the butterfly wings are a good connection to the mural at Fourth Street and the changes coming to Ottawa’s Main Street area.
“The idea is to make it an inclusive type area for people to enjoy,” Giacin said. “With Anita’s vision, it was appropriate to create more murals. We had the opportunity to donate the paint, (and) it all came together. We are all proud of what Ottawa has, and what we can accomplish. With Legacy Square (opening), it will be nice for people to see when they are in the park or farmers market.”
Pierce hopes the mural will inspire more people to be involved with the arts, and inspire locals to be more community-minded.
“That is why I came up with the name ‘Become the Change,’ ” she said. “With all this new stuff and new businesses popping (up), you will not recognize Ottawa in a year.”
Pierce began painting about 10 years ago.
“I was always a photographer,” said Pierce, who has a downtown photo gallery. “I had so many photographs, so I started painting. My sister is an international artist, (and) she helped me get started. She was my inspiration.”
Pierce said the mural's timing could not have been better.
“I wanted to get it done before (Legacy Square) opened,” she said. “Lenni is real good at pushing me. She kept me motivated.”
Pierce also has plans for the rest of the wall.
“I am going to recreate Second Street,” she said. “It is going to have the Plaza Theater and buildings on both sides of it. It will be more cartoon-style. It will have the street (painted) with a little girl riding a bicycle with a basket of flowers. The butterflies are chasing the basket of flowers. They will get bigger as they get closer to this butterfly. That will tie Main Street, the bike trail, butterflies and everything together. I am hoping when people see how beautiful our Main Street is they will say, ‘That is a cute downtown. We should check it out.’ (And) come and see our shops, and what we have to offer.”