A painted tribute to The Simpsons is going up in Springfield, Oregon this fall to commemorate the show's ties to the town in series creator Matt Groening's home state. According to the Register Guard newspaper, the mural will be painted on the side of the city's Emerald Art Center, with input from Groening himself.
A print artist who works for 20th Century Fox is creating the original artwork that the mural will be based on. Springfield spokesman Niel Laudati said that it will feature Homer lying in a hammock, Bart climbing a tree, Marge painting and Lisa and Maggie riding a bike. The mural is expected to be completed in September.
While the mystery of the Simpsons' Springfield location has been a long-running joke on the show, with so many U.S. cities sharing the name, Groening revealed to Smithsonian magazine in 2012 that it was, in fact, named after Springfield, Oregon. "The only reason is that when I was a kid, the TV show Father Knows Best took place in the town of Springfield, and I was thrilled because I imagined that it was the town next to Portland, my hometown," Groening said. "When I grew up, I realized it was just a fictitious name. I also figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names for a city in the U.S. In anticipation of the success of the show, I thought, 'This will be cool; everyone will think it’s their Springfield.' And they do."
Although the Oregon town lost out to Springfield, Vermont in a 2007 contest among U.S. cities named Springfield to host the worldwide premiere of The Simpsons Movie, the Willamette Valley city has found other ways to promote its ties to the show. There's a bar called Moe's Tavern and a frozen yogurt shop features life-sized Simpsons family figures sitting in front of the business. The prop couch from the movie's promotional campaign was even put on display at the City Hall and the Springfield Museum.
As for Groening, he plans to leave his own mark on the city's tribute. "I plan to sneak up in the middle of the night and sign the mural," he said in a statement. "I hope I don’t get arrested."