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Bellingham artists get a chance to paint on the state’s biggest canvas

Watch this artist work on a huge mural in downtown Bellingham

Artist Gretchen Leggitt and Max McNett are creating what's believed to be the largest mural in Washington state at the Encogen Northwest power station in downtown Bellingham, WA.
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Artist Gretchen Leggitt and Max McNett are creating what's believed to be the largest mural in Washington state at the Encogen Northwest power station in downtown Bellingham, WA.

A Bellingham artist working on an unusual canvas — more than 21,000 square feet of corrugated metal panels — is creating what is believed to be the largest mural in Washington state.

The project, funded by Puget Sound Energy, is transforming an industrial region of Bellingham into a work of art.

Gretchen Leggitt and Max McNett started work this month on the mural at Encogen Northwest, a power plant on the lower end of Cornwall Avenue that uses natural gas- and steam-powered generators to create electricity.

The once-beige building has gradually become a mountain range, its lines flowing like rivers.

“I wanted to do something that captures what we love about living here,” Leggitt said.

The project is one of nine funded by PSE, working with 11 different artists, in an effort to reduce or eliminate maintenance and graffiti clean-up costs at its facilities, said Nicholas Hartrich, outreach manager for PSE.

The company also hopes the artwork will help communicate PSE’s goal of reducing carbon emissions 50 percent by 2040 as it develops renewable energy sources and transitions away from coal, Hartrich said.

A secondary art project in Bellingham will support the Bellingham Makerspace and its STEM education program and will be located on PSE’s Sehome substation.

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