The words “Welcome to Minerva,” lettered in metal, are placed in front of a new mural, which hangs in three sections on the side of a building at the southeast corner of Market Street at Lincoln Way.
A scene from the 1950s looks out from a burgundy wall of a building that sits Market Street — the historic brick street in downtown Minerva.
The mural depicting Market six decades ago is the first of dozens of pieces of outdoor art that the 20/20 Vision Minerva Task Force, an arm of ArtsinStark, plans to spread around the village.
“Our goal is to put out 100 pieces of art in the next 10 years,” said Diane Evans, chairman of the 14-member 20/20 Vision committee with Pat Miller. “That’s a lot, but we really believe as a group that art is a tremendous economic development tool.”
The words “Welcome to Minerva,” lettered in metal, are placed in front of the mural, which hangs in three sections on the side of a building at the southeast corner of Market Street at Lincoln Way.
The site is appropriate, noted Evans, because it is “the gateway to our historic downtown.”
“It’s our brick street. It’s where Route 30 and Route 183 come together. And this is where we have our jazz festival in the summer and our Octoberfest in the fall.”
The painting from which the mural was enlarged and divided into three panels is a single piece of artwork that was completed by Dave Barnhouse, the Ohio artist who paints historic scenes for communities throughout the country. Jim Arrasmith, retired executive director of the Minerva Area Chamber of Commerce, had worked with Barnhouse to conceive the original painting, which now hangs in the Hart Mansion. Barnhouse sold prints of that artwork and gave the task force permission to use the painting as the basis of the mural.
If nothing else, the mural, which exhibits the artist’s emphasis on light, brings a brightness to the center of the village. Rays of light gleaming through windows in the painting — actually spotlighting of the artwork will be installed soon — illuminate what previously was the darkened side of a building.
“The owners of that building gave us permission to use that wall,” said Evans. “And so many others helped out, from the artist, to village officials, to ArtsinStark. Robb Hankins, ArtsinStark CEO and president, was a driving force.”
Cars park along Market Street’s brick surface, just as they are parked along the sides of the street artfully re-created in the mural. People stride on the street’s sidewalk, and the businesses — many now only memories — that appear in the image seem to be doing a bustling business.
Look closely and you’ll see that there is a very obvious tie from today to this painting of the past,
The Roxy Theatre’s brightly lighted marquee appears in the painting. Down the actual street, that historic theater recently was brought back to life as a site for community events.
Page 2 of 2 - “It’s kind of cool that at that time the Roxy Theatre was alive, showing movies every weekend,” said Evans, “and now it’s been restored and people can still see the marquee.”