MARIETTA - Driving north on Pike Street, Marietta residents won't be able to miss the billowing American flag adorning the building that houses the Marietta Ambulance Service.
New York City artist Scott LoBaido began work on the mural Monday morning as a tribute to U.S. Army Spc. Kyle Hockenberry, who lost both legs and his left arm in an explosion in Afghanistan in June 2011.
LoBaido, whose flag murals can be seen in each of the 50 states, is the artist of the world's largest flag, a 3.5-acre painting on the roof of a Texas building.
Photo by Jasmine Rogers
Leading up to Thursday’s fundraising concert, artist Scott LoBaido works on an American flag mural at 119 Pike St. on Monday to honor U.S. Army Spc. Kyle Hockenberry.
"I don't know how to paint small," joked LoBaido as he took a break from painting Monday at 119 Pike St.
Originally, LoBaido said he only intended to paint a portion of the wall adjacent to the Auto Zone parking lot. However, citing Hockenberry as inspiration, LoBaido decided to go even bigger.
"Kyle Hockenberry didn't do anything 40 percent. He did it 110 percent," said LoBaido.
About The Artist
Who: New York City artist Scott LoBaido.
What he does: Paints American flags to honor and support U.S. veterans.
Where: Wall of the Marietta Ambulance Service, 119 Pike St., Marietta.
Why: To raise awareness for the benefit concert for local veteran Kyle Hockenberry, to be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Marietta College's Dyson Baudo Recreation Center.
Tickets: Online at www.SupportKyle.com or at the door.
Donations: Online at www.BuildingForAmericasBravest.net or contact Chris Kuban at 314-603-2866.
The mural painting is another way to build awareness for Hockenberry's upcoming fundraising concert. On Thursday, The Lt. Dan Band, featuring actor Gary Sinise, is set to perform at Marietta College's Dyson Baudo Recreation Center at 7 p.m.
All ticket sales for the concert will go toward funding the completion of a "smart" home for Hockenberry. The initial estimate put the cost of the home near $400,000.
Though the donation of labor by local building trade associations will cut the cost of the home in half, there is a long way to go to meet the fundraising goal, said concert organizers.
Roger Anderson, who owns the building which will showcase the mural, said the painting would be a great way to build interest for Hockenberry's fundraiser.
"It's such a good cause, and it'll raise everyone's awareness about the problems that vets like Kyle face coming back from the war," said Anderson.
In addition to the mural, LoBaido will paint an additional flag during Thursday night's concert.
During a three-minute performance of "America The Beautiful," LoBaido will speed paint an American flag that will be auctioned after the concert.
"There's paint flying everywhere. It's very abstract," LoBaido explained of his high energy speed painting performance.
Even after the concert has ended and Hockenberry's home is complete, the mural will remain.
"It's a lasting gift to the city of Marietta," said Chris Kuban, media contact for the Tunnels to Towers Foundation, which works in conjunction with the Gary Sinise Foundation to build homes for wounded veterans such as Hockenberry.
Tickets to the Lt. Dan Band concert are still available at www.supportkyle.com and will be sold at the door. LoBaido said he hopes the entire community will come out to support Hockenberry's cause.