The Annual Downtown Days Art Fest in Pocatello had its first ever Mural Fest last Saturday, thanks to SIXES Big Walls.
SIXES Big Walls was started by Josh Pohlman to offer a “creative treehouse” to people who want a place to bounce off ideas.
“We just wanted to make a little hub, a little place where people could come together and we could, you know, just network and talk about it, and push each other, and just hang out,” Pohlman said.
The Mural Fest brought in artists from the community and out of state to paint murals on eight walls in Pocatello. The walls are throughout Pocatello and will have the splashes of color for at least a year, so you can take on the challenge to find all the walls!
Pohlman has his own past of graffitiing on trains as a youth, but now he has made efforts to help the Pocatello Police Department stop illegal graffiti art, especially in the Center Street underpass tunnels.
Two years ago, Pohlman painted the tunnel, but graffiti artists illegally painted on top of his art. Police came to him to know if he wanted to repaint his artwork, or if the city should paint the tunnel black and be done with it. Pohlman had the idea to make it a legal wall where anyone can paint.
“We have so many talented, energetic, passionate kids out there that are willing to go paint, and we don’t necessarily have to promote graffiti culture, but there’s a way to take what they’re doing and do a positive spin on it,” Pohlman said.
He also wants to change the repercussions for illegal graffiti art.
“They could come do their community service with us and instead of just cleaning up graffiti for no reason, they can actually be honing their skills, learning it better, and maybe transitioning into working in an industrial environment by way of painting murals and stuff,” Pohlman said.
The Mural Fest was hosted at SIXES Big Walls Saturday evening after the Downtown Days Art Fest.
“We want people to come down and meet the artists and humanize who painted the stuff up on the walls so they can know who’s painting this stuff because that’s usually the element missing in graffiti,” Pohlman said.
Photo credit: SIXES Big Walls FaceBook page.