Public art can be a powerful tool for bringing people together. Art provides a sense of place and instills pride throughout communities. More often than not, we only get to appreciate these works of art once they are completed and installed. This Saturday, folks can get a behind-the-scenes look at several artists creating temporary murals that will later be installed throughout the city at Crossroads, a live painting event. Crossroads will be held at Clientele Art Studio on Saturday, May 14 from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
The mastermind behind this event is Logan Schmitt, a local illustrator whose work is inspired by Appalachian wildlife and plants. Schmitt says that this event is a unique opportunity for fellow artists to connect and create together with the community. Crossroads was inspired by a similar event called Scrawl, which Schmitt was a part of while living in Columbus
“Scrawl has been happening in Columbus for the last 15 years or so and was held in a place kind of like this [Clientele],” said Schmitt. “It was just so fun to hang out with artists and paint all day. They would have music and one year they brought in a breakdancing troupe, and I figured – why not do something like that here [in Wheeling]?”
Logan Schmitt, local illustrator and Crossroads organizer.
Logan Schmitt is known for his nature-inspired artwork that he creates for dozens of popular bands and musicians.
So began Schmitt’s journey to organize a live mural painting event in Wheeling. With support from the Wheeling Arts and Cultural Commission, Schmitt was able to provide the basic materials for the project – paint, primer, and 4×8 boards. He then reached out to his network of local and regional artists to participate. Ten artists quickly signed on to take part in this inaugural event: Natalie Kovacs, Morgan Wiedebusch, Liz Pavlovic, Vondel Bell, Amanda Carney, Alex Wright, Luke Novel, Mindi Yarbrough, Zane Miller, and Schmitt.
Artists will all work from the same general palette – red, orange, blue, purple, white, and black – but will be free to create whatever imagery they wish. “We really won’t know for sure what each person is doing until the day of the event. I wanted the artists to just have the freedom to do their own thing, which I think is always really fun to see what they come up with,” said Schmitt.
When asked what Schmitt will be painting this weekend, he admitted he still wasn’t 100% decided. “I do lots of nature-inspired artwork and I love amphibians, so maybe I’ll do that. But that’s how most artists work…we’ll be there the night before and come up with a great sketch that can be printed out and transferred onto the panel.”
Subscribe to Weelunk
Seeing art being created in real-time will give attendees an opportunity to meet local artists and gain a deeper appreciation of their trade, according to Schmitt. “If you aren’t familiar with the art scene here, this is a chance to see the process and get to know local artists. It will be a very laid-back experience where you can just show up, have a drink and mill about without any social pressure or anything like that.” Schmitt also noted that this is a family-friendly event, so kids of all ages are welcome to come and get an inside look at the creative process.
In addition to live painting, Midge’s Kitchen will have a pop-up pizza brunch at Clientele Art Studio from 11 – 2 p.m. For those with a sweet tooth, So Nuts 4 Donuts will be parked outside of the studio beginning at 4 p.m. Clientele Art Studio offers a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and operates a small retail shop where guests can purchase items made by regional artists.
Midge's Kitchen Pizza Brunch Menu.
Clientele Art Studio is an East Wheeling art gallery where artists can display their work. Clientele also operates a small retail shop with regionally-made products and a bar serving beer, seltzers, and non-alcoholic beverages.
So, where can you see these murals once they are completed? Schmitt says that he’s currently working with the City of Wheeling’s Parks and Recreation Department to identify green spaces throughout town where these murals can be on display. Commercial property owners are also encouraged to contact Logan Schmitt here if they are interested in purchasing one of these murals for their buildings.
• Alex Panas is the Program Manager for Wheeling Heritage, where she works with artists, small business owners, and community stakeholders to provide technical assistance and create meaningful programs that enhance Wheeling. She also serves as the managing editor for Weelunk. Alex lives in St. Clairsville with her husband where they raise four cats and four spunky backyard chickens.