Parkersburg Floodwall Mural Project kick-off celebration to be held Sunday
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - A major landmark in the City of Parkersburg is getting a face-lift.
The Parkersburg Floodwall, which has protected the city from major floods for more than 70 years, will become a canvas on which the story of the city and the state of West Virginia will be told starting later this spring.
The Parkersburg Floodwall Mural Committee is launching a major awareness and fund-raising effort to get the first section of a floodwall mural completed this summer.
“The idea is to take this big, empty space and turn it into something that will draw people to the city and also make it something that local residents can be proud of,” says local businessman, Edward Escandon, who has re-ignited interest in this project which has been discussed several times over the years.
Working with local artist, Christopher Santer, Escandon has come up with a plan to turn more than 1,000 feet of floodwall space into a huge panorama and tourist attraction.
“Phase One, which we plan to begin this summer,” Escandon says, “will be painted on the floodwall area adjacent to the Riverfront Amphitheater. It will measure 160 feet from end to end and will depict the hills and mountains of West Virginia, catching the first rays of morning light.”
“We think it will make a fantastic backdrop for the concerts and other events that happen at the Amphitheater, but will also be a huge ‘welcome home’ sign to folks coming across the Belpre Bridge from Ohio,” he said.
Eventually, the plan is for another section of the floodwall to be transformed into a giant piece of sheet music, carrying the first few notes and words (“Almost heaven, West Virginia”) from John Denver’s song, “Country Roads.”
Farther down along the floodwall, the hills and mountains will morph into painted representations of the girders and piers of Parkersburg’s historic Sixth Street train trestle, which dates to the Civil War. Eventually, the spaces between each of the piers will be turned into scenes of well-known places, events or people in the history of Parkersburg.
A kick-off celebration for the Mural Project will be held by invitation only at the Parkersburg Art Center, on April 25, from 1:30-3 P.M. A scale model of the Floodwall Mural will be on display there. Later, that model will be on display at Grand Central Mall, so that even more Mid-Ohio Valley residents can take a look.
Those who would like to learn more about the Parkersburg Floodwall Mural Project can visit the Parkersburg Floodwall Mural Project group on Facebook or http://ParkersburgFlood.org.
Sponsorships are available and can be purchased through that Facebook page or by sending tax-deductible gifts to: Parkersburg Floodwall Mural Project, P.O. Box 1671, Parkersburg, WV 26102-1671.
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