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Mural project aims to bring flood of color to Parkersburg riverfront

From left, artist Chris Santer and Edward Escandon, Parkersburg Floodwall mural project organizer, stand in front of another of Santer’s large outdoor art installations. The project, years in discussion and recently revived, is getting ready to start. (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG — The Parkersburg Floodwall Mural Project is beginning to take shape.

“It’s taken a lot of people and a lot of effort to get where we are,” project originator Edward Escandon said. “But it’s all beginning to come together nicely.”

The mural will begin taking shape this spring and summer on the outside of the massive floodwall. Completed in 1950, the floodwall was built to protect downtown Parkersburg from floods.

The design is the creation of Chris Santer, an artist and former Parkersburg resident, who has been involved in a number of large art installations over the years. The concept involves sheet music from “Country Roads” by John Denver, a colorful rendering of the hills and valleys of the Mountain State, which will be Phase One of the mural, and the massive stone piers of Parkersburg’s Sixth Street train tressle, which will become “frames” for future pieces of floodwall art.

Volunteers worked over the winter to raise funds and lay the foundation for the major fundraising effort.

A visual representation of the Parkersburg Floodwall mural project found on the organizers’ Facebook page. (Photo Provided)

About $20,000 has been raised for Phase One of the project. Phase One will cost $60,000.

A brochure has been created to give contributors a better idea of what will be involved in the multi-year project and how to get involved.

The organizing volunteers include: Escandon; Senta Goudy, dean of the Center for Civic Engagement and Innovation at West Virginia University at Parkersburg; Jessie Siefert, managing director of the Parkersburg Art Center; Emma Romanowski, art instructor at Parkersburg High School; Mark Lewis of the Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Roger Sheppard, former vice president and general manager at WTAP-TV.

Abby Hayhurst of the Art Center has been involved with the design of a brochure, in the works at SW Resources, through the efforts of Randall Siers.

“We are proud to be the fiscal sponsor for this great project,” Wendy Shriver, executive director of Downtown PKB, said. “The arts are so important to the community and this huge canvas will be something for local people to enjoy and also be an attraction drawing people from other places to the community.”

A public unveiling of a scale model of the mural project will be held 1:30-3 p.m. April 25 at the Art Center on Market Street.

Information about the mural is at http://parkersburgflood.org and its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/groups/652726468424633.

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