LYNN — Annadidathing, a Lynn-based artist, is hosting a mural giveaway, where small businesses and organizations in Massachusetts can apply to receive a mural — worth up to $3,000 — for free.
Anna Dugan, better known as Annadidathing, is a first-generation, Filipino-American mural artist, who currently occupies studio space at the Galleries at LynnArts (GALA). She has painted murals all across Massachusetts, including the block-long, Black Lives Matter street mural that covered Essex Street in Lynn this past summer.
“A lot of my inspiration comes from sharing my culture, sharing my experiences as a mixed-race person and my heritage as a Filipino-American,” said Dugan. “Especially on the East Coast, there’s not really a huge population of us like there is on the West Coast, so a lot of people don’t really know much about our culture.”
Along with her culture, she uses her artwork as a space for people to talk about unconventional topics, such as mental health and social media.
“If it’s one or the other, its either sharing things about my culture, like my identity experience in that way, or creating a space for healthy discussion of whatever kind, whether it’s positivity, or just creating spaces that bring people joy — but the way that I share it is usually, ‘yes, it’s joyful but here are the realities.’”
After being laid off from her office job in July of 2020, Dugan decided to translate her love for mural painting into a full-time profession, and from then on has continued to grow as an artist.
“The journey has been really intense and I’ve worked really really hard, but I know that I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of my community,” said Dugan. “So, I was like ‘as soon as I can give back, I want to give back.’”
Dugan said the idea for the mural giveaway has been in the works for a while, but she feels she is now in a place in her career where it is feasible for her to make it happen. She encourages any business that feels the mural would add real value to their company, and might not have been able to afford it otherwise, to apply.
“If it’s something you ever wanted to do, and something you never thought you would be able to do, especially if you’ve been affected by COVID like so many businesses (have), this is your moment to go for it,” said Dugan.
The winner of the giveaway will be decided by Dugan, because she wants it to go to an organization or business that would really benefit from it.
“I want to make sure that I’m vetting these (applications) in that way so it feels fair, and I really do want it to go to someone who maybe wouldn’t have been able to afford it, or whose business it really could help,” said Dugan. “I know me, I know I am a bleeding heart, and I can already see myself going through emails bawling my eyes out, so if enough people apply and there really are a lot of worthy candidates, I probably would put those people in a hat and choose that way.”
Dugan will choose the winner by Jan. 22, and is planning to paint the mural between February and March depending on the circumstances.
“Outdoor, depending on the surface, might have to wait until April/May, but it’ll all depend on who gets it,” said Dugan. “Flexibility is key. I promise I’ll give you what you’re looking for, but yeah, I’m really excited for it.”
Dugan is also willing to work with sponsors for the project, and anyone who would like to make donations to contribute to costs of supplies and labor. If interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I feel like if there’s anything I learned throughout this pandemic and these last few years of being able to work as a full-time artist for myself, is that it’s not so much about doing what the person next to you is doing, it’s about doing what you can do,” said Dugan. “I can’t donate thousands and thousands of dollars to organizations, but this is something I can do.”
To apply to the giveaway, email email@example.com with the name of your business and where you are located in Massachusetts. In the email, include a short statement as to why you think a mural would help your business, what you would like painted, or any ideas or inspiration for what you would want. Along with this information, please submit a picture of the wall you would want painted and its dimensions. The wall must be 100 square feet or less, and can be indoors or outdoors.
Applications must be submitted by Jan. 15 in order to be considered for the giveaway.
For more information about Annadidathing, visit her website at https://www.annadidathing.com/.