PORTLAND, Ore. – Look up towards Section 211 during Sunday's match against Seattle Sounders FC (2 p.m. PT, ESPN) and you will see one of the newest additions to Providence Park.
The Timbers Army, in collaboration with Stand Together, has created a mural to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Stand Together Week, an annual community outreach event that has seen volunteers from across Oregon donate thousands of hours to benefitting their communities since 2012.
The mural, which is located on the northeastern-facing wall of the Sunset Porsche Audi Suites, towers above the Timbers Army at 30 by 27.5 feet and features images that celebrate both the sporting achievements of the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns FC and Stand Together's mission to harness the power of sport to improve the lives of children and families.
"The mural is the latest in a long list of impactful collaborations with the Timbers Army,” said Timbers and Thorns FC director of community relations Kristel Wissel, “It is a great showcase of our supporters’ passion, creativity and our mutual commitment to our community."
Mike Coleman, Vice President of the 107ist Board of Directors, says that years of support and collaboration between the Timbers Army and Stand Together on projects like Operation Pitch Invasion and Fields For All have helped make this mural a reality.
“There's always been mutual respect and mutual support,” Coleman said of the collaboration with Stand Together. “We felt this was a cool project to collaborate on to celebrate that mutual work that we've done the past five years...and we also felt it was a chance for the 107ist to give something back in perpetuity that could be there as a symbol of that relationship. So we were pretty excited about it.”
But before work began on the design of the mural, representatives from the 107ist and from Stand Together met to discuss the elements that the two organizations wanted in the design. They ultimately decided to celebrate themes of education, physical fitness, community work and sporting achievement – all elements of the mission statements of the two organizations.
Next, the 107ist selected four artists, two each from the Timbers Army and the Rose City Riveters, to design and paint the mural. In order to do that successfully, the artists first had to identify a unifying theme and a unifying style for their work. According to Coleman, this process alone took more than a month of deliberation between the artists.
Yet once the artists had identified a style and a design aesthetic, the entire creative process moved at a breakneck pace. With their final sketch approved, the artists enlisted the help of their fellow Timbers Army members to paint the mural, using a typical tifo session to complete that task.
The finished design depicts symbols of Stand Together's mission – images of a stack of books, a gardening glove, and a futsal court, among others – along with symbols of the Timbers' and Thorns' championships in 2013 and 2015. These images sit inside of an outline of the state of Oregon which itself is set against a backdrop of the city flag of Portland.
Taken all together, the images on the mural capture both the spirit of the missions of Stand Together and the 107ist and the lasting impact of Stand Together Week in the greater Oregon community.
As for the artists behind the design of the mural, their names will remain anonymous.
“The idea behind any of the work that we do with respect to tifo and other sorts of projects like that [is] that, we believe, it's for the club; it's for the community,” explained Coleman. “It's not for any individual's resume or glory. We all do it out of this deep, abiding love for the crests and for the city.”
Beginning with its first public exhibition during the Sounders match this Sunday, that work will now stand in perpetuity as a reminder of the work of Stand Together and of the relationship between the club and its fans.