The intent of the Anacortes Renaissance and Revival Confederation, which Bill Mitchell helped organize, is where the idea of murals first surfaced. Intrigued, he brought several images to the group’s second meeting, got a thumbs-up, and by the third meeting, took charge. “I had the time and the background, education, and experience to be able to head up a mural project and I had a work space.” Equally important was “enough talented friends that I felt I could put together a crew.”
The Anacortes Women’s Club sponsored the first mural - Fred White and his 1891 safety bike - for a scant $50. Mounted May 3, 1984, the mural was christened with a bottle of Miller Hi-Life. In a shower of beer and broken glass, the Anacortes Mural Project was launched.
Murals are sponsored by families, friends, businesses, the City, Chamber, and local service clubs. Mitchell owns the murals, to ensure they can’t be moved to someone’s private residence. “This keeps the project together but it also makes me responsible for the maintenance.”
One of the original goals of the project was to inspire the town’s merchants to spruce up their buildings. It gratifies him that a decade into the AMP, the downtown had a new spirit. “People had been painting their buildings and there was a new feeling of optimism downtown that I would like to think we helped to create.”
Mitchell meant to end the mural project years ago but can't seem to let go. There are still too many characters and scenes he'd like to capture. And if along the way he can inspire other towns to give it a go and recover their mojo, that would be just fine with him.