The #12 side of 12-16 Fountain Street, New Haven CT faces into 20,000 oncoming vehicles daily. It enjoys an unusual visibility in the tightly packed retail chaos of the City's Westville Village section because the #12 side abuts a gas station that abandoned its gas tanks but neither its forecourt nor its fill station canopy that continues to float high above the sight line to this adjoining property. The east wall of #12 is conspicuous.
Former occupants of the first floor retail spaces understood this: a painted advertisement for a smoke shop (Fine Quality!) lured the addicted to the subsequent tenant’s bookkeeping office years after the smoke had cleared. The wall attracted attention.
Though it was the easily accessible expanse of flat wall that facilitated a public muraling project there in 2010, that activity revealed the wall’s great potential. With some paint and added hardware, EastWall WestVille has since become a vehicle for expression, experimentation and public participation.