A splash of color, history and culture will make its debut in Washington this summer now that the city council approved a mural project.
The Washington City Council unanimously approved the request by the Arts Council of Washington (ACOW) for an outdoor mural to be painted on the Elm Street retaining wall.
Following a call for mural proposals from qualified artists, the design of Kimberly Alsop, of Augusta, was selected, said ACOW President Nora Bellows.
“In line with our mission statement, the Arts Council wants to contribute to our community through a public arts installation,” said Bellows.
Plans call for the mural to be located on Elm Street at the wall of the Elm and Main streets parking lot located east of the Washington Farmers’ Market and south of Marquart’s Landing. The mural is funded solely by ACOW, with no cost to the city.
The mural is estimated to take about 1 1/2 months to complete and is slated to be finished in mid-June.
Alsop’s design features the phrase “Welcome to Washington Missouri” and incorporates the community’s rich history into each letter, Bellows explained.
“The mural is a visually interactive display for tourists, festival-goers and residents that welcomes everyone who visits our downtown,” she said. “The Arts Council believes this mural will be a source of pride for our community.”
This design has been endorsed by the city park board, The Missourian and community members, Bellows added.
The portion of the mural along Elm Street will feature art depicting Washington from the 1800s to the 1900s. The south side of the mural, facing the rear of Marquart’s Landing, will feature art portraying the city from 1900 to present.
“Since part of this installation would face their business (Marquart’s Landing), we contacted Rick and Karen Marquart, who also expressed their support for this project,” she told the council.
When asked by Councilman Steve Sullentrup about protection of the mural, Bellows stated that a veneer finish will cover the mural.
“We are very interested in protecting it,” she said. “This is a very big investment.”
Alsop added that the paint itself will stand up to extreme weather and the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
ACOW is responsible for applying a primer to the retaining wall before work on the mural begins.
“Will the coating allow for graffiti to come off?” asked Mayor Sandy Lucy.
Alsop explained that the coating is designed to protect the paint from graffiti.
ACOW considered four finalists for the project.
The artist is a Washington High School graduate who studied visual communications through the University of Kansas.
“There are many factors I took into account when approaching this mural project,” Alsop said. “After doing extensive research, I wanted to highlight the unique history, significant people, places and events that have formed the town of Washington in a visually exciting, yet informative story.”
Alsop has painted murals for Augusta Elementary, Edgewild Restaurant, Augusta Station and several other locations.
She also designed Chandler Hill Vineyards wine labels, among numerous other art and design-related projects throughout the area.
The council is comprised of local community members, artists and business owners interested in advancing the visual, performing and literary arts in the community.
ACOW is housed under the umbrella of the Historic Washington Foundation, a 50l(c)(3), and works closely with the foundation’s sister organization, Downtown Washington Inc.
Events hosted by the arts council have included the annual YMCA Art Run, Opera Saint Louis Workshop, the art component of the annual Art and Wine Festival and Patrons Pick fundraiser.