The Downtown Cheyenne Mural Program was created by the Cheyenne Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to help support business and property owners in the DDA District who wish to add mural art to the exterior of their downtown buildings. This program is meant to coordinate resources and provide financial support to assist eligible applicants in the process of designing to completing a mural art project for their downtown building.
The murals and street art in downtown Cheyenne have become an integral form of public art, sparking conversation, showcasing diverse culture and setting Cheyenne apart through unique imagery and local artistic talent. In general, public art helps to bolster a sense of community pride for our residents while creating an additional tourist attraction and encourages economic growth and development through a defined sense of place.
- Project must be located within the DDA District boundaries
- Any mural projects or work started before date that the program application is submitted and approved are not eligible for funding unless deemed otherwise by DDA leadership
- All work must comply with all applicable laws, ordinances, building codes, and zoning ordinances and proper permits (if applicable) must be secured prior to commencement of work
- Incomplete applications and/or applications that do include all of the required supporting documents will not be considered
- Annual program funding is limited, with projects awarded at the discretion of the DDA as funds are available. The DDA reserves the right to reject any application and will make final determinations on individual project eligibility
- Funding will be awarded in the form of a reimbursement to the applicant under the terms and conditions specified in the contract unless determined otherwise by DDA leadership
- Once a project has been completed, Downtown Cheyenne Mural Program Grant Recipients must wait a minimum of one (1) year from the date the project grant amount is paid out until they are able to reapply for funding for the same property location under the Downtown Cheyenne Mural Program
- Murals completed through the Downtown Cheyenne Mural Program must remain in place for a minimum period of 3 years before they may be removed and/or covered
- A contract must be signed between the applicant, the artist, and the Cheyenne DDA before any work may begin
Eligible Applicant Criteria
- New and existing commercial property owners within the DDA District. Please note: Mill levy tax-exempt properties are not eligible for this program
- Existing business owners and/of downtown business tenants* located within the DDA District
- New business owners and/or downtown business tenants* moving into the DDA District
*Downtown business tenants applying for Downtown Cheyenne Mural Program funding must provide written approval from the property owner (please refer to the Tenant Authorization Form).
How the Program Works
The Downtown Cheyenne Mural Program will provide up to $2,000 per approved applicant to help cover the cost of an exterior mural, to include supplies, equipment, and the artist’s stipend. This amount is intended as a match in partnership with the applicant, and the applicant is responsible for providing a minimum of $500 towards the project.
The DDA has partnered with Arts Cheyenne in order to provide guidance and support in understanding how to solicit for an artist, how to determine a fair price between both parties, and how to complete the project.
Selecting a Wall
Any property or business owner wishing to place a mural on their building should evaluate the selected wall prior to engaging with an artist. Determine the condition of the wall, check for any cracks, crumbling stucco, or other problem areas. These must be addressed before a piece of art is planned, otherwise both the wall and the art will deteriorate more quickly through time.
Once a wall is selected, obtain measurements of the square footage of the area to be painted. This will help to determine the cost and the project scope. Most walls will need to be primed in order to best accept any paint, and this is another step that will need to occur prior to the artist starting. Priming should also be a conversation with the selected artist, as certain background colors will affect the look and feel of the paint.
Applicants are also encouraged to take into consideration the historic nature and integrity of their building, and certain buildings whose walls are listed in the contributing structures list may not receive funding if the wall is deemed integral to the composition of the historic fabric of downtown. This is not an effort to hinder art as it relates to the building, but to preserve the historic buildings we have. In some cases, permission from the Cheyenne Historic Preservation board may be sought to complete a mural on a specific, historically contributing building.
The term ‘street art’ is used loosely, and roughly denotes all aspects of the mural art form that are visible. Often, the term ‘mural’ is used for commissioned pieces, whereas ‘street art’ refers to more free-wheeling art pieces found in unexpected locations.
There are several pieces of art more commonly referred to as ‘graffiti’. ‘Graffiti’ is a term liberally applied to a variety of art pieces, but there is a difference between ‘graffiti’ and ‘tagging’.
The term ‘Graffiti’ refers to any writings or drawings created on a surface, usually styling a word, in a public space. ‘Tagging’ refers explicitly to writing the artist’s signature (or a pseudonym) on a public surface. In common language, the two terms are used interchangeably, but when we look at it from an artistic perspective, the visual representation of each is quite different.
You can learn more about ‘graffiti,’ ‘tagging,’ and ‘street art’ here.
Selecting an Artist
The DDA has created a roster of artists to choose from in order to assist in the mural process. The artists in our roster are behind some of the most infamous murals already in existence in our community, and also includes a handful of new artists who are interested in making their name as a mural artist. If a property or business owner already has an artist in mind not currently listed on the roster, the DDA is happy to work with that individual, and only requests an artist’s statement and portfolio from the selected artist.
Determining a Price
There is no one-size-fits-all price for painting a mural on a wall. It depends on the size of the wall or area to be painted, the amount of time it will take the artist to paint, the complexity of the concept, and the supplies and equipment needed to complete the mural. A conversation with the artist should be the starting point to determine how much a mural project will cost. They know their worth and their craft, and will work with you to find a fair number.
In order to help understand how to budget for a mural project, here is an example breakdown of the cost of a mural for this wall:
Wall measurement: 30′ wide x 10’ tall = 300 sq ft
300 sq ft x $10.00/sq ft = $3,000
(This constitutes the payment to the artist as their stipend for labor)
Mural Supplies: $200.00
(Depends on the artist and concept)
(Depends on the needs of the artist, here, a ladder is acceptable)
20% contingency to help cover any unforeseen expenses*: $640.00
*unforeseen expenses include the need for additional supplies, equipment that wasn’t planned on but needed later, the concept takes longer than expected, etc.
Total Mural Cost: $3,840.00
Eligible Cost Examples
- Artist Services (Including the Artist Stipend for Labor)
- Wall Preparations, Such as Priming
- Wall Repairs as Deemed Necessary to Facilitate Mural Completion
- Artist Supplies
- Equipment Rental
Ineligible Cost Examples
- Brand Advertising (Or Any Other Revenue Generating Use)
- Debris Clean Up and Dumpster Fees
- Wall Repairs not Deemed Necessary to Facilitate Mural Completion
- Permits, if Applicable
- Utility Costs
Once a wall, an artist, and a concept have been discussed and agreed upon, the artist will need to supply a concept proposal that shows the design and subject of the mural. This should indicate where on the wall the mural will be placed, how long the project will take, and the rate at which the artist has determined their fee for completion.
The proposed mural concept design along with photos of the proposed wall, a completed application, and a tenant authorization form are required in order for an application to be considered. A full checklist of necessary application materials can be found below.
Step 1: Contact Creative Projects Director, Desirée Brothe (307) 433-9730 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the project and determine eligibility of the project under the Downtown Cheyenne Mural Program.
Step 2: Determine wall preparation needs, select an artist, and finalize the mural concept.
Step 3: Complete the application. Applications may be submitted through the DDA website (downtowncheyenne.com) or in person at the DDA office (109 W. 17th Street) and are due no later than the first of each month, with review at the following board meeting, generally scheduled for the 15th of every other month, while funding is available for the program.
Applications must include the following in order to be considered for approval:
- Completed Application Form
- Design Proposal Created by the Artist and Agreed Upon by Applicant and Artist
- Photos of the Selected Wall
- Artist Resume and Portfolio (If Not Listed in DDA Artist Roster)
- A Written Breakdown of any Needed Wall Preparations and Associated Costs
- Tenant Authorization Form Signed by Property Owner (If Applicable)
Step 4: Once an application is approved, applicant will be notified and project work may begin.
Payment Process and Timeline
Once the project application has been approved, project work must be completed and paid invoices must be submitted for reimbursement within twelve (12) months of the effective date of approval. Extensions may be provided for extenuating circumstances if communicated to and approved by DDA leadership.
Payment terms and conditions may be modified from a reimbursement-based structure to a contract draw request structure on a case-by-case basis and upon approval of DDA leadership.
Payments for approved work will be remitted within thirty (30) days of receiving paid invoices for the completed work. Copies of final paid invoices for completed work must be submitted at the time of funding request. Only eligible expenses outlined in the final approved application will be considered for reimbursement. Payment will not exceed the approved grant amount. Once a project’s final grant amount has been awarded to the applicant by the DDA, the project application will be considered complete and no additional expenses will be allowable.
Grant recipients must credit DDA for project support through any print, social media or formal promotion of the project and must display program recipient material provided by the DDA for a minimum of one (1) year. A window decal or other program promotion material will be provided by the DDA for applicants to display.
Cheyenne Mural Program Grant Recipients must wait a minimum of one (1) year from the date the project grant amount is paid out until they are able to reapply for funding for the same property location under the Cheyenne Mural Program.
Downtown Cheyenne Mural Program Application
Tenant Authorization Form