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Local Artist Selected To Design Next Downtown Mural

Local artist Molly Strong has been selected to design and install a new mural on the Spring Street parking garage in downtown Jamestown. The garage already is home to murals featuring Lucille Ball. P-J photos by Timothy Frudd

A local artist has been tapped to design and install the city’s next mural.

Officials used an open call application process to select Molly Strong, an artist who has a variety of exhibitions, including murals at the Beer Snob and Love Elementary School. Strong’s latest work will be installed on the Spring Street parking garage, already home to murals featuring Lucille Ball.

Ellen Shadle, principal planner for the city, said Strong was chosen for several reasons.

“The merit of her work was a big one,” Shadle said.

While all the applications had legitimate merit to their works, Shadle said Strong’s knowledge of the community made her application stand out. The city hopes to utilize the other applicants for additional artwork in the future.

Local artist Molly Strong has been selected to design and install a new mural on the Spring Street parking garage in downtown Jamestown. The garage already is home to murals featuring Lucille Ball.

Strong’s mural will join Jamestown’s existing Lucy murals and will be featured as part of the city’s “Spring Street Parking Garage Beautification” project.

“The concept that she submitted, we felt would coexist with Lucy very well and it would be a very good complement to Lucy,” Shadle said.

The broad concept of Strong’s design is still being finalized by the project panel. Panelists hope to create a successful mural by bringing different perspectives to Strong’s artistic work.

“We’re still working on the concept with Molly,” Shadle said.

The new mural will be featured along the entrance to the staircase attached to the downtown parking garage as well as on the outer wall currently featuring Lucille Ball. While Strong’s artwork will complement the Lucy murals, the design will be something different.

“Lucy is her own person. We certainly want to honor her and maybe dress her up a little bit with the portions of the mural that will be up near Lucy,” Shadle said. “We’re hoping that the community will respond positively. We hope that this may contribute to any additional ventures and storefronts.”

The city hopes the project will make the parking garage experience more pleasant by allowing people to “have something beautiful to drive into and experience as they come and go from the parking garage,” Shadle said.

The city received a $5,000 grant that will be used to pay for the beautification project. A Community Arts program grant from Arts Services Inc. made the initiative possible.

Terms of the grant require the project be completed by Dec. 31. The city expects installation of the mural to extend throughout the summer and early fall.

The beautification program is made possible with funding provided by the Statewide Community Regrant program, a New York State Council on the Arts regrant program supported by the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by Arts Services Inc.

“I hope it means that we will be able to really inspire some support for public art projects,” Shadle said.

Shadle said the goal is to make this more than just a “one-off” project. The plan is for the mural to be the first of future successive projects. She hopes to see additional murals, sculptures and live performances contribute to the city of Jamestown.

“The project will also serve as a point of entry to establishing a dedicated public art platform for Jamestown and successive future projects. We look forward to the contribution this grant and the selected artist and concept will make to paving a pathway for the future of public art in our city,” the city said in a news release.

Strong’s mural is separate from the city’s structural improvements to the parking garage.

“It’s actually just a very serendipitous coincidence that this project is coinciding with the structural repairs and improvements that they’ve been making,” Shadle said.

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