Students paint downtown murals

A local organization is encouraging downtown visitors to “look up.”
Local students teamed up with the Downtown Wapakoneta Partnership and a downtown building owner to create a second Victorian-style artwork.
Wapakoneta High School art students painted murals that are displayed in the windows above the Riverside Art Center and Custom Staffing Wapakoneta — on the upper level of the building.
The five murals create a scene with a painter and children set in the Victorian era in the building owned by Red Dog properties, at the intersection of Auglaize and Willipie streets.
A Wapakoneta High School art teacher, who headed the project at the school, said they chose that era
because that is about the time the buildings in downtown Wapakoneta were erected.
“The kids do such a good job,” Wapakoneta High School art teacher Suzanne Temple said. “I’m always impressed with their work.”
The scene includes a painter with an easel — which was requested by members of the Riverside Art Center — which is part of the display along with children.
The students who helped work on this effort were juniors Ronni Kachelries, Brittni Poynter and Kirstin Beard, and sophomore Steven Carpenter.
All of the students said they were pleased with how the display looked.
“I love it because it took us a while to do it,” Kachelries said.
Carpenter, who helped with drawing the people and detail, also was happy about the outcome.
“I was proud of the outcome and my part of it,” Carpenter said. “Drawing people is really, really hard.”
The Downtown Wapakoneta Partner Decorative Arts Committee plans to make a donation to the Wapakoneta High School Art Club, as a thank you for the painting and supplies, plus some to be added to their scholarship fund. Red Dog properties generously bought plywood needed for the whole building.
Some artists from Riverside Art Center are working on the side street panels of the building. They plan to display them when the weather gets warmer.
“We are proud that the art club took on the front windows and thank them very much,” Riverside Art Center member Pam Knoch said. “They look fantastic.”
The Riverside Art Center also plans to send a donation to the Art Club for the supplies and for the students’ hard work.
“They are a talented bunch of artists,” Knoch said. “Hopefully more building owners will ask to have their windows done also. It would be a wonderful addition to those second story windows that look deserted.”
The Wapakoneta High School art students also painted a mural to display in the windows above Your Jewelry Box in downtown Wapakoneta. The mural of a woman reading a book with a cat nearby was painted and last school year.
The idea to create murals to decorate downtown originated a few years ago by Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dan Graf. The idea fell through for a variety of reasons, but now the Downtown Wapakoneta Partnership has renewed the idea.
Downtown Wapakoneta Partnership continues to look for a building owner, or owners, who want to add art work in their upper floors in 2012. For more information, contact the Wapakoneta Downtown Partnership office at 419-738-6807.