Rocky Fork Enterprise

Fundraiser to benefit Gahanna History Mural

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MARLA K. KUHLMAN/THISWEEKNEWS
Artist Joss Parker works on the first of 15 images on the mural.
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A mural depicting Gahanna's history is taking shape on an outside wall at Signatures, thanks to the Gahanna Parks & Recreation Foundation.

Lee Tucker, foundation chairman, said the history mural is the fifth piece of art the foundation has helped bring to the city.

"The foundation is paying for it," he said. "One goal is art and art awareness in Gahanna."

A mural fundraiser kickoff is being held from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at Signatures to help pay for the $10,000 project. Auction items will be available for bid, including Columbus Blue Jackets tickets.

Doug Strait, Signatures owner, said he began thinking about a mural on the outside of his business a few years ago.

"I'm a fifth-generation Gahanna resident," he said. "I thought it would be neat to show things that were here when I was younger."

Strait met with parks-recreation director Tony Collins, and the project moved forward from there.

"It took about a year to get it up and running," Strait said. "We looked through all the pictures of the historical society and picked out some that represent different periods of time. We went through about four designs."

Even though he has deep roots in the community, Strait said, he learned some history through the process.

"I didn't know about the Walnut Creek Country Club an all-black country club," he said.

The scene that will hold the most meaning for Strait depicts his grandfather's trucking business, C. Strait and Sons Milk Transport. It shows his grandfather, Clarence Strait, a 1931 Gahanna graduate, and his father, Johnie Strait.

Doug Strait said the mural project is a joint project among partners, including the foundation's art committee headed by Brandi Braun, assistant city administrator.

"It has been a group effort," he said. "I went with a lot of recommendations. I'm excited about it. As soon as you drive down Mill (Street), you will see it."

The mural spans about 80 feet in length, and it's about 18 feet high.

The mural is designed by ALTernative and being painted by Joss Parker. He said most of the work is being done in the studio, where stencils are cut for the murals' scenes.

On Oct. 30, Parker painted the top left image of the mural, featuring a nature scene from Walnut Creek.

"There are ripples and trees," he said. "It's a little abstract. God doesn't work in straight lines."

Tucker said the mural project came together quickly.

"It will be a nice gateway coming into town," he said.

In addition to the Nov. 9 fundraiser, anyone who pledges $500 or more may be a sponsor for one of 15 images on the mural. Each of those sponsors will be recognized with a circular plaque installed next to the image.

Featured images include Big Walnut Creek, the Jaycees fishing derby; a historical seal of Gahanna; the log house; golfers from the Big Walnut Country Club; antique cars promoting the 1956 flea market; Shadwicks Hardware store; Mill Street looking north; Warren truss bridge; corner building between Mill and Granville; C. Strait and Sons Milk Transport; Columbus to Gahanna Interurban Railroad; Olde Gahanna High School; Jesse Baughman and John Clark.

Donors who contribute $100 or more will have their names on a plaque installed on the mural.

The mural is scheduled to be dedicated Friday, Nov. 29.

For more about the mural or to donate, go online to gahannaprf.org.

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