Which Mural Will It Be?

It’s getting down to the wire with just a few days left to vote on which mural will be displayed at the gateway to Wheeling at Kossuth Park.

Sixteen artists submitted ideas for the Wheeling Heritage public art project. Those 16 creations were narrowed down to four. The public has had the opportunity to vote on their favorite since Jan. 2. So far, close to 3,400 votes have been cast.

“The goal of this 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,” said Alex Weld, project and outreach manager for Wheeling Heritage.

The mural will be painted on the wall at Kossuth Park, a small green space at the entrance of downtown, directly at the off-ramp of I-70 East into downtown where it intersects with W.Va. 2.

Weld said the project “was a way for us to improve a prominent gateway into downtown. We had many ideas, but a mural will provide a lot of vibrancy at the location, and it also gives us the opportunity to change out the artwork occasionally.”

There also is a community participation aspect of the mural project.

“We thought it would be interesting to not only have the public vote on the mural but also have a hand in creating the artwork itself. As part of the proposal, artists submitted how they would engage the community in its creation,” Weld said. “Each artist came up with a great way to do this. From a paint-by-numbers piece of the mural to incorporating students’ drawings into the mural, each artist is embracing the collaborative nature of this project.”

Kossuth Park is a small green space at the entrance of downtown, directly at the off-ramp of I-70 East into downtown where it intersects with W.Va. 2.

There is still time to vote! Visit wheelingheritage.org and click on the link to vote for public art. Voters can only cast one vote.

The artist with the most votes will create and display their art at this gateway into Wheeling. It should be completed early in April.

Below are the artist statements and their proposed murals, provided by Wheeling Heritage:

Amanda Carney

What is your design about?

I like illustrating life in my work, while also being playful with color. To me, deer are symbolic of Wheeling, a place where nature and city often (sometimes literally) collide. I like to illustrate deer as symbolic, almost otherworldly, and often with strange decoration. This particular design features the grand antlers of a buck holding up one of Wheeling’s most recognizable symbols, the suspension bridge.

Amanda Carney

How will you involve the community?

The other murals that I have painted all had an aspect of community involvement, and I have learned how to prep a design so that anyone with little to no painting experience can help bring a fully finished artwork to life. I love working with community volunteers and being a part of the art-making process with others. If chosen to create this piece, I can direct any number of volunteers to help with the priming and painting.

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• Mimi Albon

What is your design about?

My design for the Kossuth Park depicts the city of Wheeling but in a whimsical matter. On the left side is the more industrial side of Wheeling, with cars, big buildings, etc. On the right is the residential area showing the natural side of Wheeling with trees and animals. Dividing the two is the Ohio River with the Fort Henry Bridge connecting the two sides.

Mimi Albon

How will you involve the community?

The light blue areas such as the cars and animals will be made by local elementary students. I will ask the students to draw their ideas, and I will use it as a reference to paint it onto the mural.

• Samuel Starkey

What is your design about?

I would like to immortalize the horse of Samuel McColloch, a creature so brave and fearless that it leaped 300 feet to save the life of his companion fearlessly. That type of camaraderie is something I feel the whole world needs more of and I would love to Illustrate that, especially since it happened in Wheeling, WV.

Samuel Starkey

How will you involve the community?

I want to engage the community to help with the background creation of the piece and share a couple of techniques and secrets I use to create a majority of my art.

• Sherrie Mestrovic

What is your design about?

This “Welcome to Wheeling” canvas highlights eight iconic Wheeling landmarks in the vintage postcard lettering style. Our Historic National Landmark, the Wheeling Suspension Bridge, is shown at the foreground of the painting with a barge passing underneath and rolling hills in the periphery. The eight iconic landmarks are the Capitol Theatre, Centre Market, Mingo Indian, Mail Pouch Tobacco, Madonna of the Trail, National Road Mile Marker, Oglebay Mansion, and Independence Hall.

Sherrie Mestrovic

How will you involve the community?

For the civic engagement requirement, I would like to invite volunteers to my art studio to paint the background and rudimentary elements of the vintage Wheeling lettering. Volunteer days will be scheduled and promoted through media outlets in partnership with Wheeling Heritage.

• 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.