Alice & the Magician Solicits Artists for a Whimsical Mural | Visual Art | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Alice & the Magician Solicits Artists for a Whimsical Mural

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Alice & the Magician windows facing wall for mural - COURTESY OF ALICE & THE MAGICIAN
  • Courtesy Of Alice & The Magician
  • Alice & the Magician windows facing wall for mural

A wall in a Burlington back alley could be transformed from white cement block into a colorful mural under a plan conceived by Aaron and Sam Wisniewski and their team at Alice & the Magician.

The brothers are founders and owners of the Burlington company that creates aromatics for cocktails. This fall, the business will move from its quarters in the Soda Plant at 266 Pine Street to the northeastern section of the sprawling building. There, the space that formerly housed ReSOURCE is being renovated to accommodate a group of food and beverage businesses, including Tomgirl Juice and Brio Coffeeworks.

Alice & the Magician will occupy 1,200 square feet on the ground floor, which the company will inaugurate with a South End Art Hop event pending a permanent move in the fall. The facility has large windows that face the back exterior wall of Kerry's Kwik Stop, a convenience store on St. Paul Street.

As the Wisniewskis envision it, a section of that wall — roughly seven feet high by 50 feet long — will become a canvas to be painted by an artist or group of artists, Aaron said. After obtaining the blessing of Kerry's management, Alice & the Magician will provide materials.

"We are exploring the idea of a community-sourced art project to beautify the view from the new Soda Plant [renovation] and create a little bit of buzz around the businesses going back there," Aaron went on.

The wall rises about four feet to the east of the new Alice & the Magician space. The designers of custom aromatics are particularly interested in artwork that complements their brand: a kind of whimsical, Alice-in-Wonderland, "down-the-rabbit-hole" feel, Aaron explained. But the team will consider all artist ideas and proposals.

"Whatever we put on that wall could make you feel like, when you're in that space, you're in another world, another planet," Aaron said. "As you move through our space, the perspective of that wall will change in a really unique way, almost like a diorama."

At Kerry's, manager Melissa Kochan said the store approves of the idea of a new mural as long as it's "appropriate" and meets any regulatory requirements. The north wall of the building hosts an aquatic-themed mural, which Kochan said helps prevent the routine tagging of exterior walls by graffiti painters.

"They might have a little bit more respect for artists," she said.

Indeed, the store's west wall — the would-be site of the Alice & the Magician mural — currently displays big, black-outlined block-letter graffiti. An animal's head appears on the wall with the words "Get Thru" coming from its mouth. (Graffiti on the store is routinely cleaned up, so this may be gone by publication time.)

While reducing the likelihood of graffiti at the site is not the goal of his project, Aaron said, it could be a "fringe benefit." Primarily, though, the brothers see the proposed mural as a creative offshoot of the renovation.

"If an artist or group of artists has an idea, it's an opportunity for someone to get really creative," he said.

To learn more about the project or submit an idea, email alice@aliceandthemagician.com.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Alice & the Magician Calls for Artists to Paint a Whimsical Wall"

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