Washington Murals

Several U. S. cities have converted their downtowns into outdoor art galleries. This beautiful outcome is often the result of eliminating graffiti by sponsoring programs that give talented artists a controlled means for expression. Here is a sample of the wonderful murals across the state of Washington.

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1 Anacortes Junk Co. in 1918 Mural by Bill Mitchell in Anacortes, Washington

The Anacortes Mural Project has sponsored colorful murals on nearly every block of Anacortes, Washington. Most are by Bill Mitchell. He often depicts historic scenes and residents like this one called “Anacortes Junk Company.” It shows owner Mike Demopoulus driving his Mack truck full of paper in 1918. The art is on the side of the Marine Industrial Supply building. This company has been run by the Demopoulus family since 1913. By the way, the wheelbarrow is real.

202 Commercial Ave, Anacortes, WA 98221

2 Skagit Saloon in 1891 Mural by Bill Mitchell in Anacortes, Washington

When you visit historic downtown Anacortes, you might see a man wearing a black cap with a corncob pipe hanging from his pepper-gray beard scooting around in an electric three-wheel cart. That is local artist Bill Mitchell. He has decorated the town since 1984 with murals conveying its history. An example is this delightful painting of Skagit Saloon as it appeared in 1891. That was the year the town was founded and grew from 40 to 4000 residents in twelve months. The bar burned down in 1902. However, a reminder of its patrons’ antics lives on. So does the image of the bartender, owner and proprietor, A. Olsen.

220 Commercial Ave, Anacortes, WA 98221

3 Zack Benn Model T Lunch Wagon 1912 Mural by Bill Mitchell in Anacortes, Washington

Thirteen years after a 1971 car accident made Bill Mitchell a quadriplegic, he began painting wall murals around Anacortes, Washington. To date, he has created 150 pieces of art. They portray the stories of its citizens since 1891. This is mural #42 called “Zack Benn Model T Lunch Wagon.” It was the first lunch wagon built in 1912. Most of Bill’s murals are made on cutout wood and then attached to the downtown buildings.

602 Commercial Ave, Anacortes, WA 98221

4 Kalakala Ferry Mural by Cory Ench in Port Angeles, Washington

Artist Cory Ench created this Motor Vessel Kalakala Ferry mural in Port Angeles, Washington. The painting is a tribute to the steel, art deco ferry that served the Puget Sound from 1935 to 1967. Its unique, streamlined appearance with the round portholes made it popular with tourists for a while. However, its strong vibrations resulted in uncomplimentary nicknames like the Silver Slug. The ship retired in 1967. After multiple owners and users, it is currently moored in Tacoma, Washington, where its fate hinges on multiple lawsuits.

164 N Laurel St, Port Angeles, WA 98362

5 Port Angeles in 1914 Mural in Port Angeles, Washington

Visitors to Port Angeles, Washington are primarily boarding a ferry to Victoria, Canada. But allocate extra time for a walking tour. You will enjoy over 55 outdoor sculptures plus great wall murals celebrating the town’s history. An example is this mural detail of the town in 1914. The painting shows the citizens elevating all of the Port Angeles buildings and streets during an intense, six month project in 1914 to eliminate the constant flooding.

107 E 1st St, Port Angeles, WA 98362

6 Two Women and Rainbow Colors Mural in Seattle, Washington

I research every photo before posting it. However, in the case of this mural in Seattle of two women’s faces outlined by a rainbow of color, I failed. It was not from a lack of effort. I scrolled through a lot of the 55,500 photos on the “Seattle Street Art/Graffiti” website. They are dedicated to showing “Any kind of independent art illegally posted in public spaces around Seattle.” So I asked the users of my travel guides for help. They came through in spades. This is a detail of a large wall featured in a Microsoft graffiti commercial in 2012. The collaborative effort was produced by Mr. Unek, Weirdo, Joe Nix and Justin Ladd. You can view it here: https://youtu.be/t-CwupK9XyY

2218 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

7 Mural Artist Painting in Graffiti Garage in Tacoma, Washington

Graffiti is illegal in Tacoma, Washington. However, the city allows public expression at 723 Broadway Street, better known as the Graffiti Garage. The concept of providing a canvas for talented artists was created by the Tacoma Arts Commission and the city. Six days a week, the garage is open for short-term parking. On Sundays, when the cars are gone, the artists bring knapsacks and carry cases of specialized paint to create distinctive murals. Their self-policed code is that an artist can only paint over an existing work if theirs is more elaborate and artistic.

723 Broadway Street, Tacoma, WA 98402

8 Washington Orcas Wyland Whaling Wall on Bowes Building in Tacoma, Washington

Wyland is synonymous with marine life in his paintings, sculptures, murals, TV programs, photography and foundation. This whaling wall of a breaching Washington Orcas is 120 feet long and 45 feet high. It was painted in 1990 on the Bowes Building at 928 A Street in Tacoma, Washington. The mural is one of a hundred, life-size marine paintings created by Wayland from 1981 until 2008 across 13 countries and 79 cities.

928 A Street,Tacoma, Washington

9 Umbrellas Mural in Dome District by Chris Sharp in Tacoma, Washington

In the Dome District of Tacoma, Washington, at 216 Puyallup Avenue is this umbrella mural painted by Chris Sharp in 2012. It is part of the Tacoma Murals Project sponsored by the Graffiti Reduction Through Community Based Art team. The project offers artists workshops, technical assistance and access to community groups. They work together to design and paint the murals.

216 Puyallup Ave, Tacoma, WA 98421

10 Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural Project Detail in Olympia, Washington

These symbolic leaves growing from an olive tree is part of a 4,000 square foot Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural Project on the Labor Temple building in downtown Olympia. It recognizes the political struggles within Rafah, a city in the Gaza Strip, Palestine. The art memorializes Rachel Corrie. She was killed there in 2003 by an Israeli bulldozer during a military occupation. She was also a resident of Olympia, Washington. On a cell phone, you can hear each artist explain the significance of their leaf. There are 150 leaves. An identical mural was created along the restricted boarder of Gaza.

119 Capitol Way N, Olympia, WA 98501

Triceratops Dinosaur and Flying Pterosaur Mural in Olympia, Washington

This downtown Olympia wall mural features a Triceratops dinosaur. When this beast roamed North America about 68 to 65.5 million years ago, it was up to 30 feet in length and 26,000 pounds. The flying Pterosaur, which means winged lizard, existed 220 to 65 million years ago. They were reptiles, not dinosaurs or birds.