PERKASIE — It all started here and it will end here, but by the end of this year, the 10,000 Flowers mural project is also scheduled to have spread its petals all the way down the East Coast from Escort Station in Maine to Key West in Florida.
Exactly how many flowers will have been painted by then is anybody's guess, said Perkasie resident and artist Tim Gibson, who came up with the idea after Perkasie Borough asked for suggestions on putting a mural on a wall at borough hall.
"It depends on the wall size," he said. "Some of them could be four flowers or there could be 800 flowers on one wall, depending on the size."
The first 99 flowers were painted last year in Perkasie.
On April 27, a group of about 50 volunteers, about half of whom were students and half from the faculty, painted flowers 188 through 244 in a hallway at Pennridge High School, Gibson and Sarah Moos, an art teacher at the school and the department coordinator, said.
Flowers in the series of murals were also previously painted in another Pennridge school — J. M. Grasse Elementary School, Gibson said.
The high school flowers are the first time flowers have been painted on both sides of a hallway, he said.
"I really liked how that turned out," he said.
Moos called it a "flower tunnel."
Moos, who said she's facilitated previous murals at the school and has a goal of doing about a mural a year, said she heard about Gibson's mural project and decided to get involved in it.
"I wanted to have a resident artist come in so the students have an opportunity to work with somebody who's actually in the field," she said. "I found out about Tim and decided this would be a great collaboration."
The volunteers primed the wall beforehand, after which Gibson sketched the flowers, she said.
In a sort of paint-by-number fashion, the coloring of the flowers was all done in one day by the volunteers, Gibson said.
Gibson then outlined everything, Moos said.
The goal is to make murals in a number of towns and reach a total of 10,000 flowers having been painted. The final one will be painted in Perkasie.
Two more painting sections are planned in the area — one at Per Diem in Perkasie and one in Kutztown — before he hits the road June 8 for a painting tour running for the rest of the year, Gibson said.
The schedule of stops, listed on the tenthousandflowersproject.com website, starts June 10 in Escort Station, Maine, then continues on to Bar Harbor, followed by Kennebunk in Maine; Hanover, New Hampshire; Chester, Vermont; Boston, Massachusetts; Providence, Rhode Island; Ithaca, New York; Buffalo, New York; Easton, Pennsylvania; Cape May, New Jersey; Dover, Delaware; Easton, Maryland; Richmond, Virginia; Roanoke, Virginia; Raleigh, North Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; Asheville, North Carolina; Greenville, South Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; Albany, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; Miami, Florida; and ends the week of Dec. 20 in Key West, Florida.
Each of the stops is scheduled about a week apart, but the dates are just estimates that can be affected by factors such as rainy weather delaying work, Gibson said.
"It's when I get into town," he said. "I'm going to give myself seven days to try and locate the wall, get the volunteers rallied up and complete the mural."
He's made contact with people in some of the towns he'll be stopping at, but has not done so in a lot of the other towns, he said.
"I kind of like the spontaneousness of it," Gibson said.
"My vision for this tour is to bring strangers together and challenge people to say yes to a seemingly crazy idea and to show them what can happen when you embrace the spontaneous," he wrote in information about the plans.
"I have initially selected towns that demonstrate an affinity toward the arts (current murals, art festivals, etc.). However, I am keeping a very open mind. If unplanned locations present themselves as I tour, I am more than willing to embrace the spontaneous nature of the project and bloom murals wherever the seeds may fall," he wrote.
Other tours with stops in different towns in a different part of the country are expected in upcoming years, Gibson previously said.
While the school murals are inside, many of the murals are at outside locations.
"Ideally, I'd like outside ones just because more people get to see them," Gibson said.
From a practical standpoint, however, those inside are nice because weather isn't a factor, he said.