Jean Mellblom lived in Lafayette for nearly 10 years in the 1990s. She brought the concept of publicly funded art to town. Jean was a persistent, feisty, and very friendly person –all of which helped her convince City officials that public art was necessary in Lafayette.
Jean started her campaign at the same time the new library building was being designed. She saw a large, eventually windowless wall on Baseline Rd. as a potential canvas. After developing an idea for the mural with a local artist, she spent several years raising funds for the project. She asked for donations, convinced city council to contribute matching money, and organized a program of selling mural tiles to donors.
The mural happened, and Jean raised so much enthusiasm for outside art that city council approved a public art fee on new developments. Many people have been involved since then, but it all started with Jean and a vision she had for Lafayette. Because of her dedication and vision, the people’s choice award for Art on the Street is named the “Jean Mellblom” Award.
From the City of Lafayette’s website “Jean Mellblom passed away in January of 2013. The Lafayette Public Art Committee would like to acknowledge that one of Jean Mellblom’s enduring legacies is the role she played in establishing Lafayette’s public art program. Jean’s family has identified making a donation to the Public Art Committee “Strollers” public art project as a way to honor her memory.”
UPDATE: Sculpture Honors Lafayette’s ‘mother of public art.’ Strollers has been installed.
Read more about Jean Mellblom’s life here.