Home News Local News UFO-themed mural planned with grant funds

UFO-themed mural planned with grant funds

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Visitors to the International UFO Museum and Research Center at North Main and West Second streets will seem to walk onto a UFO when a new mural is finished. Its exact location is marked by the pink area. (Submitted Photo)

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A new downtown mural is expected to help boost tourism and business in the city.

The mural will be painted on the north side of the International UFO Museum and Research Center at North Main and West Second streets, with the project slated to start this fall and be completed before the end of the year.

“Public art absolutely has been linked to increased (gross receipts taxes) and increased sales in the district and increased foot traffic,” said Kathy Lay, executive director of MainStreet Roswell. “We want this to be a high-quality mural. We love the mural that was done at Reischman Park. There are some murals around Roswell that are really beautiful. We want to continue the tradition and make it look like something that the community can be really proud of, because we are anticipating that it will be photographed a lot.”

The nonprofit organization received a grant July 9 from the New Mexico Resiliency Alliance that will provide $4,000 of the $8,000 required for the project.

Lay said the grant is only one that she and MainStreet have applied for with various agencies to help downtown businesses. The grant requires a $4,000 match of the alliance’s funding, whether in cash or through in-kind contributions of supplies, scaffolding, equipment or other project needs. The UFO Museum will provide some of the match, but she said that MainStreet is also looking for other sources of donations.

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She said the art concept was not ready for publication, but that the idea is that it will be a ground-level mural that will make it seem as if a sidewalk in the park by the museum continues onto a ramp into a UFO craft, which will be surrounded by a star-filled sky.

“People will be able stand there on the sidewalk or by the side and it looks like they are right there on the path and ready to go into the UFO,” Lay said.

She added that the city has approved using part of the new city brand as well, so the mural will say, “Welcome to Roswell … We believe.”

The wall of the museum where the mural will go already has a UFO Museum sign, but it is too high for people to include when taking selfies, she said.

She said that artists are welcome to contact her if they are interested in participating in the project, but that MainStreet also plans to reach out to current and past participants of the Roswell Artists-in-Residence project.

“Everyone who takes a picture in front of the mural and posts it, that is organic promotion of our community and it makes it more desirable and attractive for people to want to go and take their picture there as well.”

Film, TV and news crews are also expected to make use of the art when it is finished, Lay said. A selfie contest also is likely.

She said some of the other alien-oriented art around the city — such as the life-size figures just south of the city limits and the new city-built entrance signs on Second Street and Main Street — are already popular spots for photos and videos.

The New Mexico Resiliency Alliance provides networking and training, policy advocacy and funding to help local communities develop economic resilience. The group previously gave a grant to MainStreet Roswell that helped pay for facade improvements at businesses on North Main Street.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.