A Portland Mural Stemmed from Philanthropie

Portland, ME mural artists Tessa Greene O'Brien painting for Anthropologie's Philanthropie: The Artful Project. Photographed by Seldom Seamed.

 

Back at home in Florida, the heat had rolled in and not so subtly reminded us of Summer’s impending heat and humidity. Though we found ourselves far North and for the first time in Maine where a week or so before it had ACTUALLY snowed. A fresh Spring breeze was in the air and we thought we just stepped back into a Florida winter – but to everyone else there in Maine, Spring had finally sprung.

We had been commissioned to film Anthropologie’s latest community focused [Philanthropie] project aimed at bringing a daily dose of inspiration to the places we all call home. It’s name – The Artful Project. And for their first, they asked us film their partnership with Maine artist Tessa Greene O’Brien, co-founder of the Portland Mural Initiative, in capturing her stunning painting chops put to the test on a wall in Congress Square Park.

 

Portland, ME mural artists Tessa Greene O'Brien painting for Anthropologie's Philanthropie: The Artful Project. Photographed by Seldom Seamed.

 

This is Tessa; who we quickly gathered is a super rad, quite talented, and an all-things-Portland-promoting TRUE artist.

The forecast threatened rain at the beginning of the week, so we set up shop just down the street at MECA where Tessa is currently gaining her MFA. We were in a 4th floor corner studio looking down onto Congress St., one of Portland’s busiest and also the location of Congress Square Park a few blocks west. With the hum of traffic below and gulls soaring past the windows every few minutes – Tessa diligently painted. We watched and filmed.

 

Portland, ME mural artists Tessa Greene O'Brien painting for Anthropologie's Philanthropie: The Artful Project. Photographed by Seldom Seamed. Portland, ME mural artists Tessa Greene O'Brien painting for Anthropologie's Philanthropie: The Artful Project. Photographed by Seldom Seamed.

 

There are many city parks in Portland and most beckon passersby with shady trees, beautiful plant beds and accommodating seating. Congress Square Park however, is a little bit different.

Not too long ago, the park was in danger of being lost and torn down, but the community non-profit organization Friends of Congress Square Park fought for it and continue to be dedicated to the preservation, enhancement and community use of the park. It is one of Portland’s most visible parks located at a large intersection, and it’s a hub of outdoor arts activities that draws many interesting characters and passersby. Locally, it’s known to be the Heart of the Arts District and houses a landscaped amphitheater-performance stage with a regular schedule of community and arts focused events in the park throughout the year.

 

Portland, ME mural artists Tessa Greene O'Brien painting for Anthropologie's Philanthropie: The Artful Project. Photographed by Seldom Seamed.

 

The Artful Project in Congress Square Park

 

Portland, ME mural artists Tessa Greene O'Brien painting for Anthropologie's Philanthropie: The Artful Project. Photographed by Seldom Seamed. Portland, ME mural artists Tessa Greene O'Brien painting for Anthropologie's Philanthropie: The Artful Project. Photographed by Seldom Seamed.

 

 

Portland, ME mural artists Tessa Greene O'Brien painting for Anthropologie's Philanthropie: The Artful Project. Photographed by Seldom Seamed. Portland, ME mural artists Tessa Greene O'Brien painting for Anthropologie's Philanthropie: The Artful Project. Photographed by Seldom Seamed.

 

Anthropologie + Philanthopie:

Community support and charitable events are a pretty big deal for the folks at Anthropologie (more about Anthro’s community partners and causes, right this way.) It’s because of this focus that they initiated The Artful Project. The heart is for community, the means is through art, the result is to inspire – because Anthropologie just doesn’t ‘do’ things in a traditional way, they impact from a hand-crafted approach.

For this community project, it meant joining hands with a local artist and painting a giant organic flora inspired mural, just as the people of Portland scraped away the last bits of snow from the season. Anthropologie did so through finding passionate people like those at Friends of Congress Square Park, resourcing donated supplies from Liquitex, and partnering with city officials and local business owners to create this moment of colorful pause for Portland.

 

Portland, ME mural artists Tessa Greene O'Brien painting for Anthropologie's Philanthropie: The Artful Project. Photographed by Seldom Seamed.

Portland, ME mural artists Tessa Greene O'Brien painting for Anthropologie's Philanthropie: The Artful Project. Photographed by Seldom Seamed.

 

For us, Tessa was so much fun to film and watch/learn from her artistic process. Layer by layer, we were blown away by the impact each one made. Tessa’s strokes were sure and she had some serious focus in making this nearly 50 foot mural. Happy to pause and talk to anyone who stopped to admire, Tessa demonstrated how openness to the things around her could enhance the process of creating.

 

Portland, ME mural artists Tessa Greene O'Brien painting for Anthropologie's Philanthropie: The Artful Project. Photographed by Seldom Seamed. Portland, ME mural artists Tessa Greene O'Brien painting for Anthropologie's Philanthropie: The Artful Project. Photographed by Seldom Seamed.

 

I asked Tessa if she could describe Portland in a word, to which she replied SALTY.
She went on to explain how it was not only in the air, it was a personification of the culture surrounding her.

Nick and I both grew up on the East coast near beaches and ocean. We’re familiar with the scent of salt air, fresh seafood and coastal wildlife. Portland was, however, something quite different. The same ocean floated a different sort of boat, the same gulls squawked a different sort of song, and there was something unique about the people too. Whether salty or something else, we left Portland only wanting to come back.

 

Portland, ME mural artists Tessa Greene O'Brien painting for Anthropologie's Philanthropie: The Artful Project. Photographed by Seldom Seamed. Portland, ME mural artists Tessa Greene O'Brien painting for Anthropologie's Philanthropie: The Artful Project. Photographed by Seldom Seamed. Portland, ME mural artists Tessa Greene O'Brien painting for Anthropologie's Philanthropie: The Artful Project. Photographed by Seldom Seamed.Portland, ME mural artists Tessa Greene O'Brien painting for Anthropologie's Philanthropie: The Artful Project. Photographed by Seldom Seamed.

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