Photo by Jessi Otto
An artist works on a mural on a vacant building on East College Drive on Tuesday as part of Lockwood Motors Graffiti Contest.
MARSHALL — Graffiti isn’t usually something people want to see in their neighborhood. But the artwork going up on a vacant building on East College Drive has been turning heads in a good way.
“The amount of traffic, people driving by and walking by, is awesome,” said Lockwood Motors owner Chet Lockwood.
Over the past week, close to two dozen area nonprofit organizations have been painting parts of the former C&N Game Room Outlet building. Starting today, the public will have a chance to vote on their favorite mural as part of the Lockwood Motors Graffiti Contest.
“We got more participants than I anticipated, and a good variety,” Lockwood said. “It’s been fun.” Entries in the art contest have come from area churches, youth sports organizations, school groups and more. The participants include nonprofits in communities from Canby and Granite Falls to Tracy and Slayton.
The idea to have a graffiti contest was something that had come together in the past few weeks, Lockwood said. Lockwood Motors had been looking for possible ways to do some good in the area community. Then they thought about the old C&N building, which Lockwood had purchased back in November.
“I thought the building looked appropriate for graffiti,” Lockwood said.
It sparked the idea for an art contest. Although the building was planned to be demolished, there was still time for artists to give it a unique makeover.
Lockwood Motors sent out graffiti contest invitations to local charities, and organizations like the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce also helped spread the word for entries. Lockwood said around 23 different groups responded.
Voting for the mural contest will run through May 14. People can vote for their favorite murals on the Lockwood Motors Facebook page, Lockwood said. The top three murals receiving the most likes and social media reactions will win cash prizes. First prize is $5,000. In addition to the top three prizes, Lockwood Motors will also be choosing a piece of art that will receive $1,000.
Contest winners will be announced on May 15. Lockwood Motors will be holding a cookout, with music by local singer and musician Kayla Daniels. The music starts at 5 p.m., and mural contest winners will likely be announced around 5:30, Lockwood said.
The time and effort that mural artists have put into their contest entries has been impressive, Lockwood said.
“I’d like to thank all the participants. It’s been awesome to see the art going up, and the competition in doing it,” he said.