Last week, Sarah McKnight gave us an update on the new businesses in Colfax, Washington, since I was there a year ago. I forgot to say their population is 2,800. (Thanks for the reminder, Ned Overton!) Now let’s talk art!  

Colfax already has an active arts group. Occasionally, they will create “crack art” — cute tiny paintings that incorporate a crack in the sidewalk, or a corner of a building or electrical conduits. Here’s the cat, the mouse and the cheese. Any town could copy this idea.  

When I tour any downtown, I’m always looking at easy ways to add more color and art. It shows activity and life and just makes it more pleasant to live in your town. Building on suggestions we all brainstormed up while I was there, Colfax has new murals and new fishes!

A long stretch of chain link fence surrounding a concrete waterway runs alongside downtown Colfax. Now it has fishes! During the tour, we brainstormed for ways to dress up that concrete and the chain link. Inspired by a similar set seen in another town, they involved the whole community painting fishes, then hung them on the fence, even across the bridge. It’s a great step, and one they can keep building on. (Tap the pics to see them larger–mobile friendly).

They did a future mural! We talked about how murals don’t have to show just history; they can show the future, too. Colfax took that idea and now it has a new robot mural! It’s kind of a retro future take on American Gothic with robots. 

Their existing 1880s history mural looked a little lonely, surrounded by a big stretch of blank wall, and we talked about adding more art there. They added a bright new colorful design all the way across, framing the existing mural.

Plus there’s a new happiness mural. Both feel contemporary and show off their beautiful natural surroundings. They say the Palouse region is the American Tuscany.

That’s a lot of new color in one year! Imagine residents seeing all this activity downtown, all the life and interest from the new paint and the new businesses. You know this builds momentum that will carry forward. 

When you bring me to town, we unleash the energy you’ve built up. It’s not an accident this all happened in one year. The people of Colfax used my visit as a trigger to make good things happen now. What will you use as a trigger in your town? 

Keep shaping the future of your town, 
Becky

PS – If you want to unleash some energy in your town, hit reply and we’ll talk about setting up a visit. I have openings in December, January and February if you’re ready to get started. 

Get a weekly dose of positivity for small communities from Becky McCray and Deb Brown, co-founders of SaveYour.Town. We share practical steps you can put into action right away.
We won’t sell or rent your email address to anyone else because we wouldn’t like that either.