New Murals Convey Happiness, Hope During Pandemic

Two new murals were organized and arranged by Jennifer Moreland, director of the Downtown Corvallis Association, as new installments to the Corvallis Murals Project this fall. Both pieces are big, bright, and colorful – perhaps just what we need in the year 2020.  

 Moreland said she arranged the murals because of the pandemic. She wanted to organize murals to help make a positive impact and lift spirits in the community during these challenging times.  

The two pieces, titled “Ollie the Otter” and “Greetings from Corvallis,” were both created by native Benton County residents Courtney Marchesi and Eileen Hinckle.   

Raised in Philomath, Marchesi is a self-taught artist, specializing in acrylic painting. She’s a certified veterinary technician, but in August of 2019, she took a leap and began pursuing a full-time artist career.   

Marchesi has a passion for painting marine life, which is reflected in her new mural of “Ollie,” a swimming sea otter who now lives in the Art Alley behind American Dream Pizza.  

“The ocean is something I care deeply about, and I just love all the life it holds,” she said.   

Marchesi has a couple other murals in Corvallis: one on Fifth St. and Madison Ave., titled “We’re All in This Together,” and another in Cobblestone Square on Fourteenth Street and Monroe Avenue, which is a floor-to-ceiling seascape piece featuring sea turtles and jellyfish.   

She said that painting “Ollie” was a great experience and a chance to convey and incite happiness in the community.   

“’Ollie’ was such a fun piece to do, and the feedback from the community has been so wonderful. So many people that have contacted me say that he makes them smile. That makes me so very happy to hear,” Marchesi said. “I mean, isn’t that something we all could use? A silly otter to make us smile.”  

More of Marchesi’s work can be found on her Instagram, @CourtneyMarchesiArt, and she will also be launching a website with an online shop.   

Though born and raised in Corvallis, Hinckle finished her college degree in Peru and spent six years in South America, where she had the opportunity to pursue and advance her mural painting skills. After moving back this last summer, Hinckle was given the chance to create a mural for the back of the Common Fields building, located on Third Street.  

Hinckle has painted several murals for downtown Corvallis, and her most recent, sponsored by the Downtown Corvallis Association, was directly inspired by the local community.  

“The inspiration of the ‘Greetings from Corvallis’ mural was to represent and celebrate the iconic architectural and cultural landmarks of our community,” she explained.   

Hinckle also stressed the need to use art as a voice in society, especially during these times.  

“I think art is always a reflection of the times that it is made in,” she said. “It’s really important for me to use my art to speak up on the issues that we’re all facing this year.” 

Along with mural painting, Hinckle also does canvas paintings, printmaking, and illustration. To see more of her work, check out her Instagram, @eileen.k.h, or her website  

In these difficult times, art is an outlet for both creators and viewers, connecting each of us across various mediums.  

 “Each [of the murals] is a gift to our community to bring about a smile and a sense of pride about Corvallis,” Moreland said.  

To see more of Corvallis Mural Project pieces, check out the CMP map  

By Cara Nixon