Downtown Exeter is the stage for an interesting outdoor art gallery which features over 30 murals painted by different artists. The stories told in the murals, found on the external walls of the buildings, are of local history, folklore and culture. You will find this quaint town located near the foothills of the Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Why create an outdoor art gallery?
Agriculture and cattle ranching developments in the area led to the growth of the township. Exeter is known for growing the sweetest oranges in the world, and for the captivating murals that are displayed on its walls.
The idea of the murals was born because of the need for the historic town to attract attention in the middle of an economic recession. Accordingly, some locals came up with the idea of painting the blank brick walls around the town with murals. The murals represent historic scenes of life in and around the settlement, which is why, for example, many of the murals feature agricultural themes. Exeter city government funded the very first mural which is located in the centre of town, called “Orange Harvest”. (You can see this mural in the featured image at the top of this blog post.) Later murals were subsequently commissioned by private companies and even individuals.
A few of the murals I saw
As you walk around the town, you see the murals everywhere. Murals are all painted in individual styles to tell a different story. Some of the murals take up the full corner of a building and they are so big you feel like you can walk into that scene. Here are a few of my favourite murals.
Where to find the murals
Most of the murals are located centrally, within an 8 block grid. The grid boundaries are between Palm and Maple streets, and F and C streets. As you are walking around the town centre, the terrain is easy walking, with level streets and footpaths.
There is even a mural that is a map of where to find the murals! Ironically, we came across this almost at the end of our visit.
New murals are added to the collection each year. As a result, the Exeter outdoor art gallery continues to grow. This wall shows a mural in progress. It will certainly have been finished by now.
The attraction of the murals is partnered by many speciality boutiques, antique shops and charming cafes.
This makes a winning combination which attracts many visitors to the town every year as a result. If you are in the area to see the Sequoias, take a coffee break or enjoy lunch with a view in Exeter.
In conclusion, I recommend that is worth your while to visit the town, take a leisurely stroll through the streets and see the colourful gallery of murals.
Here is a link to the detail of each mural and the map of the town to help you find them before you arrive: Outdoor Art Gallery
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