And the Mural Contest Winner is …

“I was tickled!”

That was Sherri Mestrovic’s reaction when she heard today her mural was chosen by popular vote to enhance the green space at Kossuth Park, located at the intersection of W.Va. 2 and Interstate 70.

Close to 3,500 votes were cast since the beginning of January for the four finalists in the contest, a project of Wheeling Heritage. The other three finalists included Mimi Albon, Amanda Carney and Samuel Starkey.

Not only was Mestrovic “tickled” with the win, but she was also pleased with the feedback she received on her Facebook page … “best by far” … “awesome looking” … “love the design” … “love it” … “beautiful welcome sign to Wheeling” … “you captured our landmarks beautifully” … “best for the intended purpose” … “classy sophisticated design” … “it’s perfect.”

Her favorite comment, however, was, “They should pay you ten thousand for the painting.”

Mestrovic’s painting mimics a vintage postcard, with each letter of the word “Wheeling” filled by an iconic Wheeling landmark. She wanted more than just the letters, so she added the Suspension Bridge below “Wheeling.”

The landmarks include: The Capitol Theatre (which she may add a Jamboree USA reference in the finished product); Centre Market; the Mingo Indian statue; a Mail Pouch Tobacco sign (“I love the Mail Pouch barn,” she said); the Madonna of the Trail statue; a National Road mile marker (that fits perfectly in the “I,” Mestrovic noted); the Mansion Museum at Oglebay; and Independence Hall.

Mestrovic will soon be sketching the artwork on a 10-foot by 20-foot board. She will then invite the public to her studio at 2194 National Road in Wheeling to help paint, as part of the community engagement aspect of the project.

Subscribe to Weelunk

Alex Weld, project and outreach manager for Wheeling Heritage, noted that they thought it would be interesting for the public to have “a hand in creating the artwork itself.”

Dates for the public paint will be announced on the Wheeling Heritage and Art by Sherrie Facebook pages.

The goal of the art installation is to “serve as a welcome to Wheeling, instill pride in the community, engage the public, and interweave arts and culture into the utilization of public space,” Weld added.

The free-standing piece will be installed in April.

“I’ve always loved art,” Mestrovic said. “In kindergarten, they told my mom to save my [artwork],” she said. “I’ve always wanted to paint and raise kids.” Mestrovic is the mother of Amanda West and Jessie Mestrovic, and she has two grandchildren.

Along with her shop in Elm Grove, where Mestrovic sells artwork, offers classes and paint-and-sip events, she attends five craft shows each year, she said.

After nearly 38 years as reporter, bureau chief, lifestyles editor and managing editor at The Times Leader, and design editor at The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, Phyllis Sigal has joined Weelunk as managing editor. She lives in Wheeling with her husband Bruce Wheeler. Along with their two children, son-in-law and two grandchildren, food, wine, travel, theater and music are close to their hearts.