New “Buy Local” mural adds vibrancy & message to downtown Portland street

PORTLAND, Me. — Portland Downtown happily announces the addition of a new downtown mural at the corner of Brown and Free streets, creating vibrancy, discouraging graffiti, and encouraging local shopping.

Hugh McCormick Design Co. designed and painted the outdoor mural, located on the Brown Street side of Free Street restaurant & cocktail bar, formerly Binga’s Stadium. This project was fully funded by Portland Downtown, a 501c4 nonprofit Downtown Improvement District.

“Part of Portland Downtown’s mission is to create a more vibrant downtown — and public art is at the heart of that mission. Our team is happy to put our money where our mouth is to support some new downtown flair and color by way of this fresh mural,” said Cary Tyson, Portland Downtown Executive Director. 

In their artist statement, Hugh McCormick Design Co. described the mural as a symbolic take on the “Buy Local” message. The art shows a shopping bag tipped over with color, objects, and form spilling from it. 

“These forms flow through several trees representing the Maine landscape, state tree as well as the Portland Heritage of being the Forest City,” the artist statement continues. “These soft geometric forms mixed with the more literal shapes of the trees create a dynamism that pops off the wall. People can stand at the base of the wall and look up at the trees as they would in the forests that make up the heavily forested state of Maine.”

Executive Director Tyson noted the positive impact public art can have on graffiti and tagging prevention. 

“This wall was once a graffiti hotspot,” Tyson continued. “Being able to curb those tendencies and simultaneously support local shopping is a true win-win for our downtown. We couldn’t be more pleased with the final result and thank the artistic team, property owner, and all others who have graciously supported this project.”

Work on the mural began in late June and was completed early last week. 

“It’s a proud moment when your building can act as a blank canvas for such a talented crew. This new look is bound to attract more visitors to our corner of the city and maybe even inspire they shop — or eat and drink — locally at places like Free Street bar and restaurant. Happy to be of service,” said Michael Kaplan, Property Owner.

“We are just striving to be the ultimate neighborhood bar. Luckily for us, we happen to be in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Maine. As a result we’ve tried to gear our bar to reflect the needs and different personalities of the block we call home. For us, that means accommodating the crowds that gather in the fall and winter before each Mariner’s home game. It means supporting the thriving arts and music community, composed of both students and Portland mainstays. We’re here for the tourists and the regulars. Maine is the place we’ve chosen to make our home for its spirit and national beauty. With the addition of this new mural, our building reflects on the outside of everything we strive to project out from inside. Join US!” said the Free Street restaurant and cocktail bar team.


Portland Downtown is a 501c4 non-profit Downtown Improvement District. Our mission is to stimulate a vibrant, thriving, and sustainable downtown community.
Hugh McCormick Design Co., HMDC for short, we are an award winning branding, packaging and graphic design studio located just north of the peninsula in Portland, Maine.  We are firm believers of creating truth over expectation, a unique and particular voice through a harmony of form, content and delivery. We are interested in finding innovative and influential design solutions through the balance of aesthetic quality and creative direction through research, experimentation, and experience.