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New mural, old park: Party celebrates both

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Activities for children, adults and a tree are on the agenda Saturday, July 14, as part of a celebration marking the 100th birthday of Glen Echo Park.

Some birds -- or at least oversize paintings of them -- also will work their way into the mix.

The party with the purpose of noting the centennial of the 4.2-acre park at 510 Cliffside Drive is being put on by the Lower Olentangy Urban Arboretum, Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed, Friends of the Ravines and ALTernative, the latter a nonprofit organization responsible for a bird mural in a nearby underpass that will be unveiled during the gathering.

Columbus artist Clint Davidson last week put the finishing touches on his mural, which is intended to dissuade taggers from spraying graffiti on a surface that's seen more than its fair share.

"The neighborhood's been very positive and supportive," said Davidson, who received a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Columbus College of Art and Design in 2000. "Some people come by every day and take some kind of process shots. That makes me happy as an artist.

"People seem to really enjoy it."

The mural, featuring paintings of species native to the ravines in the area, was funded in part by a grant from the Chase 200Columbus Neighborhood Grant Program, with supplemental funding obtained through a campaign on the online arts-project promotions website kickstarter.com.

The project was the brainchild of architect Tim Lai and his wife, Eliza Ho, the principals in an architectural firm that started ALTernative to help further neighborhood arts efforts such as the SoHud Mural project at the intersection of East Hudson and Summit streets.

The formal unveiling of the bird mural is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to noon July 14, said Mike McLaughlin, president of the Lower Olentangy Urban Arboretum.

The arboretum obtained the initial Chase 200Columbus grant.

Before the unveiling, McLaughlin said, there will be activities geared toward youngsters starting at 10 a.m. These will include including face painting, butterfly tattoos, a scavenger hunt, nature painting, games, crayon rubbings and a special appearance by a balloon-sculpting clown.

As part of the mural's dedication, a commemorative black gum tree, provided by the Lower Olentangy Urban Arboretum, will be planted.

"It has really pretty leaves in the fall," McLaughlin said, adding that the tree is a native species not currently found in the ravine from which the park derives its name.

A picnic is on tap from noon to 1:15 p.m., featuring grilled hot dogs, White Castle sliders, side dishes and birthday cookies donated by Mozart's and Whole World Natural Foods.

Next up, from 1:15 to 2 p.m., will be a magic show featuring Springfield-based magician Marty "Moe" Miller. He's an "eight-year U. S. Navy veteran who started performing magic as a hobby to pass the time and entertain fellow sailors during long deployments," according to his website.

"Many businesses have donated, and that information will be announced throughout the event," McLaughlin said. "It's nice that with the commemorative tree and the unveiling of the bird mural that we're continuing to see projects completed within the arboretum, which is just making our community stronger.

"It's nice to see work get done."

There will be some work to be done following the conclusion of Saturday's events.

"At the end of the festivities, grab a trash bag and a nifty little grabber and help clean up the neighborhood," McLaughlin urged.

 

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