Beautify brings the bunnies to shopping center mural
NewMark Merrill's wall-sized painting at Janss Marketplace celebrates the wild rabbits for which Conejo Valley was named.
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Mural in Thousand Oaks, California by Evan Meyer for NewMark Merrill
As much as I enjoy running a company, I'll always be a muralist at heart. It's great to be able to combine the two with Beautify. In September of 2020, I had the chance to do so even more literally, putting my brushes to a wall outside an already-pretty shopping center on the outskirts of Los Angeles County, making it even more beautiful.
This is the kind of project for which we conceived Beautify. As both a muralist and a software product manager, I wanted to remove the friction from the process, to connect people who want great art with the professional artists who create it.
Janss Marketplace, nearly 500,000 square feet of prime space just off busy Highway 101 in Thousand Oaks, California, is one of more than 80 operated by NewMark Merrill.
Edie Trott, senior marketing director at NewMark, says, "Art inspires, exposes and resonates at a guttural level, evoking the imagination, exploring beyond anything you may be exposed to daily. We wanted to give our shoppers and community the opportunity to experience and dream when they come to our shopping centers, make it a journey.”
The painting I created for NewMark does just that. It brings the cottontail rabbits that still thrive in Conejo Valley—yes, that's "Rabbit Valley" in Spanish—into Janss Marketplace, where you might still run across one in the parking lot outside Old Navy at night. That's one of the best things public art can do: Celebrate the members of the community that surrounds it—bunnies included.
Evan Meyer is a co-founder and the CEO of Beautify.