AUGUSTA — Artist Clint Pettengill wants community members to come together to give color and life to a large mural he created to show how the community came together, in the past, to create the Augusta we know today.

So on Saturday Pettengill, a Winthrop artist who studied at the University of Maine at Augusta, will hand over his paint brushes to the people of the community, including children and adults who might have never completed a work of art, so they can finish the work he designed.

The piece, which has a theme of “Be a bridge from what is, to what will be,” features icons from Augusta’s past, including Old Fort Western and the Colonial Theatre, and nods to logging and other industries that helped create Augusta’s once-vibrant downtown, next to a flowing Kennebec River. Pettengill said he wanted it to depict Augusta’s early history and how the downtown grew out of early industries.

Pettengill and a group of volunteers already have placed an outline of the artwork on the downtown Augusta wall it will occupy. But other than the blue background, the mural still needs to be painted to be complete, a task the artist said he has no concerns about turning over to members of the community, regardless of their artistic background, or lack thereof. Which, he noted, fits in with theme of the piece itself.

“We’re trying to make it as accessible as possible, so everybody can feel part of a bigger whole,” Pettengill said. “It’s what the project is all about — a bunch of people throughout time building a great city together.”

The mural is one of multiple murals planned for downtown Augusta, and would be the second to be completed. It will join a mural done by UMA students in Peter Precourt’s public art course, a postcardlike mural featuring Augusta, on the wall of 179 Water St., at the corner of Water and Bridge streets, which was completed earlier this month.

Alyra Donisvitch and a group of volunteers including members of the current class of the Kennebec Leadership Institute have been working to bring the mural, which they call a “Community Celebration Mural,” by Pettengill to a previously nondescript Front Street wall, along the Kennebec River waterfront, roughly across Water Street from the Downtown Diner.

And they want members of the community to come from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday to paint in the mural.

“We’re inviting the whole community, anybody who is available, to come fill it in,” Donisvitch said. “We’re describing it as a life-size coloring book. No experience is required. Definitely all ages.”

She said part of the idea of the project is group members had been hearing the Kennebec Valley region, and downtown Augusta, were perhaps lacking in having a community-like feel to them.

“So the idea behind it is, by offering this opportunity for people to work together, to contribute brush strokes to the wall, you bring the community together, so they can have a shared experience and have a place to come back to, where they can say, ‘I partook in this experience,'” Donisvitch said. “The idea behind it is to celebrate our community’s past, present and future.”

Pettengill, who contributed his time at no charge for the project, will be on hand with other volunteers to guide and assist mural-painters.

The mural will cover a large city-owned retaining wall.

The mural incorporates a set of stairs already along the wall, which provide pedestrian access between Water and Front streets. People painted on the wall behind the stairs are in clothing from different time periods, with their garb becoming more modern the higher up the stairs each person is located.

Pettengill, 37, said he comes from a family of builders, and the mural, in part, pays tribute to people who put in hard work to build the cities we live in today.

In 2013 a visiting team of downtown experts was brought to Augusta through the Main Street Maine program and spent three days in the city’s downtown, seeing what was there and what wasn’t, and made recommendations for how to help spur economic and community development there.

One of the things lacking downtown, team members told local building and business owners and others at the end of their visit, was some public art.

The downtown mural initiative aims to address that lack of public art in the city’s downtown, with plans to add at least one more this summer, on the wall of Riverfront Barbecue overlooking the city’s Market Square Park on Water Street. Officials also hope the murals will attract visitors to the city.

Saturday’s community mural-painting was timed to coincide with the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce-organized Whatever 2017 Family Festival’s Kennebec River Day, which will be taking place a short distance away at Mill Park, also alongside the Kennebec River. Events taking place as part of that include live musical and dance performances, a petanque tournament, demonstrations at Old Fort Western, face painting, fly casting demonstrations, horse-drawn wagon rides, games, and chainsaw woodcarving demonstrations.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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