Base coat – Silverton Mural Society gathers community support

December 2021 Posted in Arts, Culture & History, Community

By Melissa Wagoner

When Chris Davie joined the Silverton Mural Society in 2020 the organization was in desperate need of help. Longtime leader, Vince Till, had recently passed away and support had begun to wane.

Tonya Smithburg painting the addition to the Bobbie Mural on Water Street.

“The key thing for the mural society is, we always need money,” Davie, who is now the board treasurer, said. 

“It costs $10,000 to $12,000 a year to maintain the murals. So, we live from paycheck to paycheck.”

It’s a situation Davie, who has some experience in the field, is hoping to change. 

“What we need is appreciation for the murals that leads to support,” he explained. “Because if there is a body of community support, that helps us when we’re applying for grants.”

The key, Davie said, is to raise public awareness by making the society, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, more visible. 

“We had a booth at the Crafters Market and the Silverton Art Festival,” Davie said of some of the initiatives the group took on in the past year. “We had a table at the Neighborhood Community Picnic and we had a float in the Davenport Parade. Then we started a membership drive.”

Kali Dirks touching up the Bobbie mural.

The drive was important because, at its beginning the group had only a handful of members but by its end the number had risen to 57. 

“It really does help the community,” Davie said of this monumental increase, which will help to maintain, not just the murals, but Silverton’s history as well. 

“That’s really what they depict,” Davie said. “There’s a story behind every one of them.”

And now that story has become even more available with the rollout of the Silverton Mural iPhone app that member Ellen Snow and her brother, Chip, developed. The app – which is available in both a visual and audio format – describes each mural, gives its history and the artist.

Smithburg and Dirks re-painting the
words to Homer Davenport’s epitaph to
the Old Oak Tree.

“It’s a good app and I hope people are learning about it and actually using it,” board president, Norm English, said. “We’ve been trying to connect with more and more people and it’s one more opportunity to do that.” 

And that’s a good thing because as the number of murals in Silverton continues to grow, so too does their ability to bring tourism to the town.

“Silverton is known for its murals,” Davie confirmed. “That’s the story you see when you walk around.”

To become a member, download the app or find out more information about visit

How to reach the SMS

P.O. Box 880
Silverton, OR 97381
Facebook: Silverton Mural Society

New iPhone app available on the Apple App Store.

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