After a challenging year for many small businesses, towns and business owners alike are getting creative in order to increase business. In Bridgton, the creativity is literal, with the town launching a public art campaign.

The Town of Bridgton’s Arts & Culture Subcommittee is working with building and business owners in downtown Bridgton to solicit mural designs that reflect and highlight unique aspects of the town with the goal of drawing in more business downtown.

“We’re a steering committee to bring arts and culture to this small town because we that’s what we really lack, and if we increase arts and culture, it increases tourism, it increases business, and our primary emphasis is tourism,” said Greg Bullard, chairperson of the Arts & Culture Subcommittee.

The committee hopes to have at least three murals to start, and Bullard said that some local business owners, pending approval of the designs and permission from the building owners, are interested in having a mural on their buildings.

“I’ve talked to two owners already, and there are places that have walls that are just eyesores,” Bullard said. “Everyone just got really, really excited.”

For Bullard, who has a graduate degree in business as well as painting, the effort is particularly important. The goal, he said, is to turn the large-scale painting into a community-wide event and eventually a larger arts movement in town.

“Doing murals is a precursor of bigger things. It’s just the most visible, easiest thing to do,” Bullard said. “The next is creating a performing arts center or a building where people can rent studio spaces. So that’s my big dream, is to have a community arts center. One of the gaping things when it comes to arts and culture is performing arts, there’s just no venue for the performing arts here in this town.”

Mural submissions will be reviewed by the subcommittee and the Community Development Advisory Committee and eventually the Planning and Select Boards. The deadline to submit a design is Aug. 13.

Ideas and designs can be sent to Bullard at [email protected]

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