Murals in Downtown Salem

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Murals in downtown Salem provide visual engagement and opportunities for conversation. Enjoy your exploration of Salem​​​’s downtown murals.

​Mirror Maze

by Damien Gilley

Location: Alley between Commercial and Liberty Streets NE

The artist’s approach to this site is highly influenced by the architecture present. Elements of play and perception are important for the artist to communicate, aiming to give the viewer moments of pause and reflection. The artist hopes the work opens up ideas in the viewer of future forms of structure, contemporary visual interaction with our environment, and the promotion of unique abstract interpretations of our communities.

The work reinforces the transformative nature of place by drawing attention is to its innate, and sometimes invisible structures. This bold graphic solution echoes the most simplified of elements of the surrounding area to make a strong perceptual effect. It both identifies prominently the architecture it exists on while offering a more visual experience that aims to multiply and dislocate traditional architectural physicality.

In general, it breaks apart monotony to give a unique reflection of the surroundings in a formal context, presenting the locale in a more dynamic moment.


The artist hopes the work opens up ideas in the viewer of future forms of structure, contemporary visual interaction with our environment, and the promotion of unique abstract interpretations of our communities.

​Waldo Stewards

by Blaine Fontana

Date: 2017
Location: Chemeketa Parkade’s east stairwell, 338 Commercial St NE 

The artist’s work honors Salem’s own Waldo Park, the smallest redwood park in the world. The redwood tree encompasses the canvas of the stairwell and includes Pileated Woodpeckers, which are often hidden and rarely seen. By featuring the woodpeckers, the artist’s intent is to conceptually mirror the discovery of this mural and add an energetic narrative to the concept. The work also features pop graphics to symbolize the pinecones leaving the tree for growth and development.


Timelapse video of Waldo Stewards mural being created


The mural honors Salem’s smallest park, home to an Oregon Heritage Tree. When it was recognized by the Oregon Heritage Tree Program in 1998, the Waldo Park sequoia tree (sequoiadendron giganteum) was 126 years old, approximately 85 feet tall and 22 feet in circumference. Planted in 1872 by Judge William Waldo, the son of an 1842 pioneer, many have worked over the years to save the tree from the encroaching street system. In 1936, the Salem City Council declared the site, a 12 x 20 foot plot of land, a City Park.

​YMCA Mural

by Lynn Takata

Date: 2011
Location: Corner of Cottage and Court St - Outside

The artist behind this mural concept, Lynn Takata, worked with the surrounding community to inlay thousands of ceramic pieces. Here, Takata attempts to express public ideas on peace. Along the 60 foot wall of the YMCA, poetry phrases are weaved together from Oregon Poet Laureate, Paulann Petersen.

Theatrical Heartscape

by James Mattingly

Date: 1984 (restored in 2014)
Location: Rear Wall of Elsinore Theater - Outside, 170 High St SE

Created by James Mattingly, this mural was originally painted in 1984 and restored to full-color again in 2014. It honors the long-standing role that the Elsinore Theater has had in Salem’s history, and pays tribute specifically to Theda Bara, Marlene Dietrich, W.C. Fields, and Charlie Chaplin, as icons of cinema and vaudeville. The restoration was a community coordinated effort through Friends of Mattingly's Mural, in partnership with the Elsinore Theater, and restoration artist Dan Cohen.

​Salem Public Art Commission

In Salem, the Public Art Commission is charged with the selection, acquisition, commissioning, and deaccessioning of public art in the City’s collection that gives preference to Oregon artists.

The Salem Public Art Commission is also charged with approving public murals for the Public Mural Program.

Contact us

Courtney Knox BuschStrategic Initiatives Manager
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
555 Liberty ST SE RM 220
Salem OR 97301