Floyd County supervisors give unofficial OK to LEC wall first responders mural
By Bob Steenson, [email protected]
Entering its third season, the Charles City Town of Colors public murals project again has its sights set on some big spaces to cover with art.
A small group including members of the committee made a pitch at the Floyd County Board of Supervisors meeting this week to cover a large exterior wall of the new county Law Enforcement Center (LEC) with a mural honoring first responders. The group received unofficial support from the board.
“We’ve done six murals in town over the last two summers,” said Dean Andrews, a Town of Colors committee member and Charles City’s mayor. “It’s just kind of a way to bring some vitality to particularly our downtown area, but this year we’re actually going out to one at the Furniture Barn, we’re going to do one at Mr. Kloberdanz’s building on the side out there on Clark Street, and then we’d like to do one on the Law Enforcement Center, on the – I’ll be kind – on the plain wall on the Law Enforcement Center.”
Andrews said the Town of Colors Committee had been approached by Brandy Molitor, president of the Floyd County EMS Association, regarding the potential of doing a first responders mural.
Molitor said first responders include law enforcement like the Sheriff’s Office and police departments, fire departments, correctional officers, dispatchers, emergency medical services (EMS) and search and rescue.
“All the emergency responders,” she said. “We’re a team.”
Andrews said based on the area available on the side of the LEC he anticipates the mural costing about $10,000.
“The mural committee has for the past three years provided 90% of the funding for these murals, and the business owner of the walls of we do provides the other 10%. Brandy has said that she thinks she could probably raise the 10% for this mural privately so there would be no cost to the county Board of Supervisors,” the mayor said.
Andrews said if the Board of Supervisors approves the use of the wall – on the south side of the LEC facing Gilbert Street – the project would be done sometime this summer. The exact time would depend on which artist is chosen and that person’s availability, but the artists are told it needs to get done before fall, “before the snow flies,” he said.
Supervisor Chair Mark Kuhn said, “I’m very impressed with what’s been done in the city of Charles City, and I like to see this kind of vitality. It adds a lot to our community, I think.” But he also wondered about the process and whether the supervisors would have any say in the design that would be painted on the side of the building.
Emily Kiewel, the director of the Charles City Arts Center under whose aegis the Town of Colors program operates, said the murals are collaborative efforts among the Town of Colors committee, the artists and the building owners.
“Basically we give them the theme and see what they come up with. They’re the artist and that’s what we’re hiring them for, to come up with a beautiful design that we like,” Kiewel said.
Andrews said, “Once we get your approval to start the process we’ll send out requests from artists and have them send us some examples of what they can do, and then we’ll pick the artist that we want to do, in conjunction with Emily and you guys if you want to help pick the artist. That’s certainly fine, but we do want to get the process moving.
“You’re not committed to anything until you see exactly what’s going to go on the wall and then you say, ‘No I don’t like that, we’re not going to do it,’ or ‘Hey, that’s great, let’s go for it,’” Andrews said.
Supervisor Dennis Keifer asked if the Sheriff’s Office needed to sign off on the plan to paint a mural on the Law Enforcement Center.
“We’d certainly love to have their input,” Kuhn said, “I don’t think we’re making any real decision today, but we want to explore it to the depth we can and give an indication of our support, certainly, today. We’d look forward to anything that the sheriff or anyone else thinks about this.”
The group also discussed the potential for damage to the mural, such as graffiti.
Andrews said once the mural is done it belongs to the building owner and the building owner is responsible for it, including probably adding it to insurance coverage, but if the painting is damaged the artist can come back and repair it.
There is a coating that can be applied over the top of the mural to make it easier to clean if graffiti is applied, Andrews said, but he added that some of the artists prefer to not have that coating, because if touchups are needed it’s more difficult to have to remove the anti-graffiti coating first.
Both Andrews and Kiewel said there is no guarantee for how long the mural will last, but Andrews said they are expected to last at least 10 to 15 years, and Kiewel said the artists use a high quality outdoor paint that is rated for 30 years.
After 10 or 15 years the building owners would likely be ready for something new, anyway, Andrews said.
“You don’t have to paint another mural. You can just paint the wall. … You may want to paint it all red, whatever,” he said.
Kuhn said the board would put the request on the agenda for formal approval at another meeting, and Andrews suggested it be at the next meeting, Monday, March 20.