Regency’s Sutton Square in Raleigh, NC recently got a new eye-catching and heartwarming upgrade. In partnership with ArtLifting — a social enterprise championing artists impacted by housing insecurity and disabilities — the shopping center installed “Imagination”, a vibrant, colorful mural painted by talented local artist Wiley Johnson, which can be found next to Northside Dental on the corner of a heavily trafficked, major intersection.
Since receiving a gift of a disappearing Van Gogh toy at his fifth grade birthday party, Wiley has had a lifelong interest in art and museums. Art became the way he copes with the challenges of living with Autism Spectrum Disorder, including learning and finding stable employment. In 2011, his only sibling, Zach, passed away in a motorcycle accident, which, in this words, "knocked the wind out of my sails." Through this experience, Wiley discovered that painting helps him cope with his grief as well as in his day-to-day life.
ArtLifting’s mission is to create opportunity, empowerment, and validation by offering artists the chance to secure their own income through sales of original paintings, prints, and products. By showcasing and selling work via ArtLifting, artists gain confidence that permeates all aspects of their lives. Every artist earns 55% of the profit from the sale of their work through ArtLifting, while one percent of the profit provides art supplies to art groups nationwide, and ArtLifting uses the remaining 44% to further their mission.
ArtLifting is very excited about this collaborative opportunity with Regency Centers,” said Olivia Scharwath, Art Advisor, ArtLifting. “Regency’s installation of Imagination by Wiley Johnson creates a larger-than-life impact by featuring his work in a prominent public location seen by shoppers, motorists, and pedestrians. His artwork is bright and joyous, not only reflecting his nature, but also mirroring our enjoyment of partnering with Regency Centers on this opportunity.