Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
WASHINGTON — A mural won by Washington in the #IowansUnite Community Contest has completed on South Iowa Avenue, near the corner with Washington Street.
The art installation paints each of the Washington’s 10 letters with a different iconic visual component of the community, including the State Theater, the Centennial Fountain and the strong Latino community. The visuals were chosen by Washington Chamber leaders and Isabella Santoro, who coordinated a promotional video and wrote the contest-winning essay that made the mural possible.
“We tried to think about different aspects in the community, what might be important to those who have been in our community their entire life, those who are younger, younger at heart, people who are involved in the arts or in agriculture,” Washington Chamber Executive Director Michelle Redlinger said. “When people look at it from the community, they can see themselves in it hopefully, in one piece of it, at least.”
While the initial mural plan would have painted the words over a blank wall, Redlinger said the community chipped in a little extra for a more colorful sunset background.
“I shared the image with our board during a meeting, the one with a blank background and one with the sunset background,” she said. “They all agreed that the sunset made it look more complete and more showstopping, so they told me to proceed.”
While that extra cost was covered by the Chamber, Redlinger said the group had received some reimbursement from the hotel/motel committee and the LETS Center had offset some of the $7,500 charge.
The mural was made by artist Ben Schuh, who said he was frequently stopped by residents excited about the work.
“I welcome people to talk, so I’m able to work and stop … it’s not uncommon,” he said. “Overall I’d say the town was very pleased with the result.”
Schuh said he hoped the mural enriched the community.
“I think it’s important for people to realize that public art is accessible and that this is their mural,” he said. “I think it’s a very positive way for the town to expand their presence. They already have a number of murals, so it’s good to see that number increasing.”
Redlinger said the Chamber planned to hold a ribbon cutting at the mural to celebrate its completion Oct. 19.