EVERETT — Children and adults grabbed spray cans from a table and unloaded them on a pair of canvas sheets strung up Sunday afternoon in the covered picnic area at Henry M. Jackson Park.
Those sheets became a community mural, with Pac-Man chomping his way to a profile of Spider-Man; a green plant growing up into a melange of orange, red, yellow and black; and words sprayed into and over each other during the first Delta Art Experience.
“It’s like a big neighborhood party,” said Ryan Weber, chairman of the Delta Neighborhood Association, which organized the free community festival in the northeast Everett neighborhood.
The Delta Art Experience was a showcase of the area’s offerings and talents, with an art and mural walk, music and poetry. And it was a glimpse of what the neighborhood is and could be.
Historically, the Delta neighborhood has been one of the poorest in the city. It hosts the Denney Juvenile Justice Center and has had a high concentration of public housing, including the recently demolished Baker Heights homes.
But Weber and others are ready to continue to exchange that old notion with what the area is today — a place with potential. He sees it in long-range ideas for connection to riverfront trails and the abundance of working and hobby artists.
“There is something inspirational about it,” said Weber, who plans to put on the Delta Art Experience again next year.
Artists from across Snohomish County set up in neighbors’ yards to display their blown glass, paintings, stoneware and yard art. There were no fees for artists, a decision Weber and the city’s neighborhood association leaders made to remove barriers and keep the event accessible.
Ruben Trujillo, who has gone by Ruben the Artist professionally, unloaded his acrylic and mixed-media works based on comic book, fantasy and manga characters under a small shade canopy on the lawn at Citalli Zarate’s house, a couple blocks away from the park. Trujillo has painted some of the murals around Everett, including two of the seven along the mural art walk Sunday.
One that features a large salmon is visible from the park’s western edge, near the playground.
“Doing big art is always fun,” Trujillo said.
Zarate, a graphic artist who designed the event’s poster — a squirrel holding a paint brush — painted a seagull with a gnome’s hat on an umbrella set up on the front lawn. She was happy to have people visit with artists as they navigated the art walk, which made it feel more neighborly to her.
“For me, it feels good,” she said. “Delta is having a kind of awakening. It makes the neighborhood feel more welcoming.”
Anna Hermanson brought her stoneware mugs and vials out of her Snohomish home studio, Firing Passion, to the Delta Art Experience. She had a prime spot on a yard just across the street from the park, signified by an umbrella with gold sparkly paint.
“When I was little, I was obsessed with 3D art,” said Hermanson, who has been making stoneware for over a year. “There’s something special and intimate about it.”
Her mugs were characterized by clay handles shaped to resemble wood, complete with lines for grain and gnarls to their shape.
Jacob Petersen, of Everett, shared part of the lawn with Hermanson to display his Word of Mouth shop’s glasswork, such as marbles, pendants and rings. He started blowing glass after spending several years working at car dealerships as both his creative outlet and income-earning occupation.
“When I go into my glass shop, I don’t think about the purpose,” Peterson said.
Zarate hopes other neighborhoods host similar events.
“All they have to do is lend their front yards,” she said.