PERKASIE >> Only 9,901 to go.
“So far in Perkasie, we have 99 flowers,” said Tim Gibson, the artist who came up with the idea for the Ten Thousand Flowers Project.
Those 99 flowers are drawn on a mural in three different places in the borough — a retaining wall behind borough hall, Chimayo Gallery and Threddies.
The next step is to arrange to paint other sections of about 100 flowers each in about 100 other small towns across the country, then a return to Perkasie to finish up the project by painting the 10,000th and final flower here.
Each section of the mural will end with a flower trailing off, then picking up with the rest of that flower on the next section, Gibson said.
“They’re all going to connect,” he said. “By the end, we’ll be able to take a picture of all of them and just splice them together like a puzzle — one giant mural is kind of what we’re saying.”
A ribbon-cutting celebrating the official unveiling was held Aug. 6 at the borough hall wall, after which attendees followed the path of sidewalk chalk flowers drawn the previous night and in the early morning hours by Gibson to a reception at Chimayo Gallery.
The project is an example of the community that Perkasie is, Mayor John Hollenbach said.
“Over and over again, we have these different projects and things that happen in Perkasie that just show what a community can do when it comes together,” he said.
The Perkaie Lions Club, the Arts & Cultural Council of Bucks County, Sherwin-Williams, the Perkasie Public Works Department, Perkasie Parks & Recreation, Perkasie Borough Council and several volunteers from the community all have had a hand in the project, he said.
“It’s Perkasie. It’s a community. They came together, and thanks to the leadership and the creativity of Tim, look what we can accomplish,” Hollenbach said, “so thank you all.”
“A small idea can become a big idea, and that’s what really happened here,” council President Jim Ryder said.
The project came about from council discussion of the new retaining wall, Linda Reid, Perkasie’s events coordinator, said. That led to a request for ideas from the public, which were then reviewed by a selection committee and out of which the Ten Thousand Flowers Project was chosen, she said.
The 125-foot-long wall presented some artistic challenges because it is only about 3 feet tall in some sections and never more than about 5 feet tall, she said.
“Finding a design that was appropriate for that kind of space was tricky, so this was a perfect fit,” Reid said.
Council members liked the mural’s design, but that wasn’t the only part of the idea they liked, she said.
“They loved the idea of being at the beginning of this national art project,” Reid said.
The council supports the idea of having additional murals in town, she said.
Gibson, a Perkasie resident who works at Eric & Christopher in the borough, also helped do the mural in the trolley tunnel.
In keeping with the Ten Thousand Flowers theme, he wore shoes with flowers drawn on them to the unveiling.
Later this month, the next section of the mural will be done at Shanteel Yoga Sanctuary in Sellersville, Gibson said.
Next summer, he plans to do an East Coast tour, then head south for the winter and west in the summer of 2020, in total hitting about 100 towns and spending about two weeks in each making that section of the mural before moving on, he said.
The hope, he said, is to bring communities together in making their section of the mural and for the persons involved to have a sense of having been a part of it.
He said he wants their feeling to be, “the town painted the mural,” not “some guy came to town and painted a mural.”
T-shirts and flower paintings by Gibson to help raise funds for the project are available at Chimayo Gallery.
Having spent the first seven years of his life traveling with his family in a motor home, he loves to travel, Gibson said, helping prepare him for the travel over the next few years to complete the project.
Another of the goals is to introduce towns to different types of art, rather than just doing things such as town memorial murals, he said.