Project Plywood turning boarded-up businesses into outdoor canvases

Posted at 1:19 PM, May 06, 2020

A little art can spark a lot of emotion.

Artists are capturing the coronavirus crisis while turning boarded-up buildings into outdoor art shows that attract the eye and inspire the soul.

“It makes me feel like there’s hope and that we’re going to get back to normal soon,” one woman said of Project Plywood, a project where artists spray paint inspirational murals on plywood covering businesses shut down due to the coronavirus crisis.

The artist painting this pandemic is Weso Knarly, @wesoknarly on Instagram, who moved from Dallas to Denver to open an art gallery.

COVID-19 concerns caused Knarly to temporarily close his business, but his creativity opened his mind and his wallet.

“We like to have an element of us giving,” he said. “I myself am kind of a loner and like to paint by myself. So, this is a good opportunity to get out of my hole.”

At first, Knarly covered the cost of paint for Project Plywood murals while he and other artists supplied the talent and technique.

“Depending on the caliber of artist the whole mural might range you anywhere from $2,500 to $8,000,” he said.

With lockdowns lasting longer and more businesses closing down, more of Knarly’s murals are going on display

“We’ve done 12 to 15 different places and growing,” he said.

People are now donating to have Knarly spray paint plywood covering their businesses.

It’s enough to break even financially but emotionally its priceless.

“Creativity is the antidote for these hard times,” Knarly said. “Shakespeare created MacBeth during a pandemic.”

Knarly knows this beautification of businesses closed for quarantine won’t cure the coronavirus but he’s happy to help bring color to his community and inspire a growing outdoor audience.

“It gives me encouragement to get out and live life,” one passerby said. “And not let this whole thing get us all down.”