Moira Villiard told a story about an escape room she did with friends, as she glided a brush into a circle, a sequence of blueberries. She moved through the mini crowd, chatting with passersby on the sidelines. She checked her map to ensure the colors of her design matched up.
With the help of Zeitgeist and a grant, the Duluth multimedia artist spearheaded this series of creative crosswalks community paints in an effort to add beauty and promote safety at dangerous residential intersections in Duluth’s Hillside neighborhoods.
And bringing community and creativity together is her M.O.
A long-standing painter, writer, graphic designer herself, Moira Villiard (pronounced Miri) is also the cultural program coordinator at the American Indian Community Housing Organization. She’s on the executive board of the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council. She’s also partnering with the Indigenous Commission and Zeitgeist on a mural of Chief Buffalo at Gichi-ode’ Akiing, starting later this month.
“It might seem casual, but she’s put a lot of thought into everything she does and how it affects not only her community, but the community as a whole,” said Duluth artist Carla Hamilton.
Villiard is relentless and generous. “She’s not just an artist, she’s an art advocate.”
Creative crosswalks started with footwork. Villiard and Zeitgeist reps went door to door, gathering input from residents about what represents their neighborhood.
Near Myers-Wilkins Elementary, there’s a street mural of a rabbit school bus and flowers; another of butterflies twisting up near native flowers along 15th Ave. E. and 6th St.
For the most recent near Portland Square…