Beyond Walls nearly doubled its fundraising goal to bring new art to Lynn

(Spenser Hasak)

LYNN — Beyond Walls, the art and lighting project that put a spotlight on the city’s downtown last year, has nearly doubled its fundraising goal.

“We had 60 days to raise $50,000, but ended up raising nearly $94,000,” said Al Wilson, founder and executive director of Beyond Walls, the nonprofit which brought art to downtown buildings. “It’s a culmination of lots of people giving to the cause.”

Last year, Wilson raised $80,000 from 1,388 donors and made it possible to bring 23 artists from Lynn and around the world to leave their imprint on downtown buildings. It created an economic boom when more than 5,000 visitors flocked to Lynn and spent money in local restaurants and businesses.

Last month, 1,405 people contributed $93,487 through Patronicity, a Michigan crowdfunding platform that connects nonprofits with sponsors, to the cause.

Among the donors who put them over the top include Land of A Thousand Hills Coffee Co, Brothers Deli, and John’s Roast Beef & Seafood, he said.

“We had big fundraisers like Eastern Bank who contributed $10,000,” Wilson said. “But the vast majority were $20 or less. It was a combination of lots of people giving to the cause.”

As a result, there are plans for Beyond Walls II this summer which will feature 22 new international, regional and local artists bringing their work to the city from August 6 through 19.

Wilson said this year’s event will build on last year’s success. The artists will be invited to paint murals on the walls of a dozen buildings. Ads on two buildings painted in the 1930s will be revitalized, including the rear of Zimman’s on Market Street. In addition, artists will create mixed media artwork throughout downtown.

By meeting the initial $50,000 goal, the nonprofit qualifies for a $50,000 match from MassDevelopment, the state’s development bank.

The next step is to secure in-kind contribution from Painters And Allied Trades DC 35, the union that helped make last year’s festival a success with the donation of $50,000 in cash and in-kind labor to prime the walls.

“The two weeks will culminate in a massive block party in the cultural district,” he said.

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