Balmy alley, mural art, wedding photos, Mission San Francisco - 2007
… We had our civil wedding photos taken in one of the famous mural alleys in the Mission, San Francisco in 2007, Balmy Alley, close to our first home together there. Mural arts are an old obsession and one day living off of an alley filled with murals, a long time dream!
Once we moved here to Broad Ripple, although projects kept me busy while setting up the airbnbs, I had been keeping a folder on my desktop where I saved all my inspirations and sketches for our garage mural one day! I was initially planning on painting it myself like I’d been painting some of our airbnb walls. My main struggle was to find a subject that was aesthetic, neutral, timeless, non invasive and most of all un-divisive (during these increasingly divisive times,) it being a shared alley, in a small village. Then, Jules Muck @muckrock happened to pass through town! Jules is born in England, a graffiti and mural artist now based in Venice, California. She and her tight knit crew (Kyle and Dada, aka the boys) had been on a cross-country journey and stop and paint where the demand for her art surges...
It was Tuesday August 6th 2019 that I noticed the fresh mural of Debbie Harry (Blondie) on Broad Ripple’s Indy CD & Vinyl shop by Jules Muck and posted a picture of my daughter riding her scooter in front of it (*see in photo gallery above). That image stuck in my brain leaving a lingering smile…
I just wanted more of that!
I started texting with Jules on Wednesday but by Thursday she had already left the area heading North and I saw her new paintings pop up and post in Kokomo. I thought I had missed the opportunity.
One project just didn't seem to pull enough weight to get Jules back this way as I was texting back and forth with her, so I started reaching out to our (most amazing and kindred-spirited) neighbors Chad Fallis and Adolphus Fifer. I remembered they too had mentioned day-dreaming about having a mural on their garage. I recalled a family member (Chad's nephew) offering to paint them a rose. They still have the original drawing of it framed! ...The thought of several murals in one alley did get Jules to agree to come back our way! OMG, would this answer two of my dreams all at once?! Finally getting my mural done AND getting a mural alley started?!
We needed a theme, a concept - quick and since “Chadolphus” had mentioned considering the rose concept before (wanting to exude a positive loving message into the neighborhood,) and our then recent new neighbor Mary Starkey was immediately on board with the sunflower sample I presented her with... I thought to myself “That’s it! FLOWERS!!!"
Flowers as a common subject! The "un-divisive" theme I had been looking for...
"We can all be different, individual and yet all live together in beautiful harmony!
We just need to pick our own flower theme, one we identified with
and we’ll become the #broadripplefloweralley!"
The initial three flower murals were about to BE.
Brilliantly, as he does, Chad proposed we add significance to the project through words for each respective mural. Their word accompanying their then soon to be breathtaking red roses became “BE LOVE...” (Which if you have ever encountered “Chadolphus", they ARE! Pure LOVE.) Together with Mary they agreed on “BE JOYFUL” for her sunflowers. As a family we ended up choosing poppies! Poppies are delicate and wild. Considered a weed in Belgium and Europe. Untamed, poppies won’t let just anyone cut them to put into a vase. They’d rather die! Extremely helpful, as in used to produce medicine (Morphine) or dangerously fun, as in used to make recreational drugs (Opium.) Poppies are also an international symbol in memory of fallen soldiers…
Our words became “BE FREE.”
Friday August 9th 2019 Jules pulled up in the alley and started to paint the very first mural in the Broad Ripple Flower Alley: our poppies. I had submitted a photoshop mock-up to Jules of exactly how I pictured it. Being a former graphic designer by profession, I was drawn to a very graphic almost POPart rendering. It all went so quickly I had literal chills! I am a spontaneous person, but even this was fast for me. Saturday the roses and part of the sunflowers went up. By Sunday my husband Alan had reached out to our then recent new neighbors across the alley, Dan and Spencer Lee, whom owned the most beautiful and last authentic standing barn in Broad Ripple. Jules had been gushing over the barn. They too agreed (with us sharing costs) to growing the love into the community... They let Jules pick the flower she was most inspired by for the barn. Purple morning glories it was! Their words after a short brain storm amongst neighbors became “BE AUTHENTIC.”
That magical Sunday organically turned into an alley neighborhood party. It started with two fold out chairs and ended with a full on dinner party as Adolphus said “I’m cooking dinner for you all!” just like that, to all that had flocked to the alley that day. Love seemed to spread through Jules' spray cans into Broad Ripple’s streets and alleys.
#broadripplefloweralley officially came to life in the summer of 2019. This project prompted us to continue developing on the concept and seeking out talented local artists to work with as well.
Fall 2020, Jules Muck committed to a return visit and added several more murals to the Broad Ripple Flower Alley as well as local muralists’s beautiful additions by Abigail Staffelbach and Megan Jefferson. Turning the Broad Ripple Flower Alley into a street art exhibit! Getting initially hesitant neighbor Jim Korn on board was of great excitement! Not quite sold on the flower theme for himself, he settled for the brilliant compromise in depicting a field of Indiana corn... #begrateful (in reference to the Grateful Dead.) Neighbor Gretchen Hueni was on the fence and a bit nervous about it being appropriate for her house. I designed and proposed her a "garage bouquet" of peonies (in a photoshop sketch) to reduce the unknown and surprise factor in her decision making and suggested it be named #beremembered. Gretchen was on board and Jules commissioned the design with such beauty and accuracy! These flower murals quickly turned just another alley into a "favorite walking path in the village", and I am quoting many of the neighbors and community members whom shared their thoughts walking by.
Jules came back in the Fall of 2021 to grow more flowers, exact commissions or her own creations! She can do it all. Note Jules plans on being back this upcoming June 2022 for more demand!
Let us know if you want to be on the list.
Thank you Jules...
We love how this project brings the community together...
We love the surprise and smiles it prompts.
I truly couldn't be more grateful to Jules Muck for not only inspiring a couple of neighboring "slow brewing dreams and visions" to come to life but also for allowing for it to grow and multiply so rapidly through a strangely contagious excitement in our beloved community.
We love watching it grow!
Thank you Chad...
None of this would have happened without the hard work and help of Chad Fallis,
known as the glue of this community...
He is a natural at communicating and bringing people together -- and on board!
Thank you Jim...
As the love grows, neighborly Jim Korn has started a Broad Ripple Flower Alley tradition of throwing REVIVAL events offering live music in the alley for our beloved community.
Be on the look out! Don't miss out on the next one!!
& Last but not least THANK YOU to all our wonderful neighbors that have since part taken and painted murals as a part of the #broadripplefloweralley project!
We love you!
There is no better time then now to come together through smiles...
Deborah Jacobs @ripplebnb, broad ripple vacation rental
Orchestrator of the Broad Ripple Flower Alley...
Fun Fact: After the summer of 2019, Chadolphus started calling me "Determined Deborah" as my super hero name and custom designed super hero mugs* with my face on it for Christmas ;)
Come check out the flower murals in broad ripple flower alley!