Grand Central Mall adds tourism-themed mural designed by Belpre High School student

Photo Provided A drawing by Lydia White, a 17-year-old student at Belpre High School, was transformed into the large mural at the Grand Central Mall.

VIENNA — A Belpre High School student is the artist behind the new mural at the Grand Central Mall.

Lydia White submitted a rough draft of her idea, which was eventually selected for the exterior wall.

She drew a final version that was made into a large vinyl mural, rather than it being painted on the wall by an artist with a brush, she said.

“That’s what everybody thinks,” she said.

The mall recently unveiled the new mural located on the J.C. Penney building at the food court and Regal Theatre entrance.

Photo by Terry L. Estep The mall recently unveiled the new mural located on the J.C. Penney building at the food court and Regal Theatre entrance.

“We wanted a unique feature to showcase the local flavor of the area,” General Manager Jody Hopkins said. “Grand Central Mall has been a destination location for the Mid-Ohio Valley since 1972 and our current redevelopment is a testament that we are growing and will remain the retail destination in the area. We wanted a mural, created by a local artist, with a design that captured the unique highlights of the area, those that set our area apart from the rest of the state.”

Grand Central Mall has a partnership with Artsbridge to bring awareness to the talents of local artisans.

When Artsbridge Director Mandy Stevens heard about the project, she stepped in and helped facilitate the process. Her husband, Chad, an art teacher at Belpre High School, is the leader of the school’s art club and he happened to have a talented young artist interested in the project.

White plans to pursue fine or studio art in the future. She worked on the project last fall on the color pencil design that highlights four landmarks in the area: the Blennerhassett Hotel, the Smoot Theatre, the Memorial Bridge and Fort Boreman Park.

White’s original 18-by-21 inch drawing was transformed into a 16-by-17 foot vinyl mural by Sir Speedy, a local sign company.

“Sir Speedy owner Justin Papania took a personal interest in the project and made sure it was done right,” Hopkins said.

The mural is getting attention and White is thrilled with the end result.

“The mural is the icing on the cake,” Hopkins said. “We also have an outdoor seating area in the works and this piece of artwork will be a great conversation starter for our customers while enjoying that amenity. White did an awesome job and I think she has a very promising career in the arts ahead of her.”