Versailles murals celebrate 200 years


VERSAILLES — The Versailles Bicentennial Committee is proud to have placed three murals in downtown Versailles. The committee was established to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the village with funds raised from the community. At the end of the 2019 celebration the group moved to use remaining funds to place murals downtown depicting village history and the bicentennial. The project was planned for 2020 but was significantly delayed by the pandemic and resulting material shortages. Final installation of the murals was marked by a photo of the committee and building owners as they recognized the celebration of village history and continued downtown development.

The murals were completed by Nick Stull of Columbus, a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University. His work has been exhibited nationally and he is represented by the Sarah Gormley Gallery in Columbus, Ohio and Red Arrow Gallery in Nashville, Tenn. Stull also owns an art and design company called Day Blink Creative, where he produces a variety of large-scale murals, custom painting and portraiture, and branding and design projects. Previous brand partners include: Germain Cars, Marriott Hotels, White Castle, Elford Development, Avenue Partners, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and White Claw. Prior to Day Blink Creative, Nick was an exhibit designer and installation supervisor at The Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus. Stull also serves on the board for The Ross Art Museum at Ohio Wesleyan University. The murals were installed by West Side Sign of Parkersburg West Virginia. The material was chose for its durability and because it won’t permanently mar the buildings.

The Endless Pint mural is a variation of the Bicentennial Flag that was created to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the village. The Red, White and Blue as well as the fleur de lis represent the village’s French Heritage. The two chickens are a long-standing village symbol that has connections with France, Belgium and Germany.

The Sweet Shop mural welcomes visitors with a postcard and the village motto of People, Pride and Progress. The postcard contains images from around Versailles overlaid on a 1905 image of historic downtown Versailles complete with hitching rails on Main Street.

The Swift Gilly mural is the largest and most complex of the murals. This mural was inspired by Versailles artist Michele Schneible who created the initial sketch and was completed by Stull who built out the sketch with local support. Schneible is a graduate of Versailles High School, Bowling Green University and attended Christendom College in Virginia. She has taught art at Tri Village, Aquinas Academic Center (in Virginia) and Piqua Catholic. She now teaches art to homeschool students as well as contributing to numerous projects including Russia’s “Art in the Park” for the past 10 years with over 100 kids participating.

The committee was committed to using images that were authentic to Versailles. The center of the Swift Gilly mural is prominently occupied by a giant rooster noting the historic leadership in poultry production. The four corners of the mural depict Industry, Education, Transportation and Agriculture. Industry is represented by a picture from CF Poeppelman which has poured many of the foundations for village construction. Education is represented by extracts from the familiar logo used by Versailles schools. The “pouncing tiger” Coat of Arms was developed by the VHS Class of 1969 as a gift to the school and community. Ever since the Coat of Arms has been a common symbol of Versailles schools. Extracts include academics, athletics, the arts, arrows honoring our areas Indian Heritage and recognition of military service. The third corner represents transportation which provides significant employment and supports our regions manufacturing and agriculture. The picture selected is from Subler Transfer and represents the many area transportation companies. Agriculture is represented by the sons of Alpha and Ruth (George) Petitjean. Robert L. “Bob” Petitjean and John Carl Petitjean are pictured helping their neighbor with wheat threshing in the 1930s or 40s. The center of the mural includes the Snyder Hotel (now the site of Hotel Versailles) which was built after the 1901 fire and replaced the original hotel at this location. Education is further represented by the High School that was originally built on Virginia Street in 1876. A church signifies the community’s religious faith. The train and airplane represent the pivotal decisions to route trains through Versailles and the selection for the county airport.

Thanks go out to a great number of people The Village of Versailles and Versailles Chamber of Commerce for their support. To the sponsors of the Bicentennial Celebrations: Pohl Transportation, Midmark, Weaver Eggs, Village of Versailles, Poultry Days, Park National Bank, Bruns Animal Clinic, Versailles Chamber of Commerce, BMI Karts, Direct Tooling Concepts, Versailles Savings & Loan, Harold J. Pohl Inc, Endless Pint and many more.

The committee extends appreciation to the Wietholter, Dabe and Bergman families for allowing the murals to be installed on their buildings and for their patience thru the numerous delays. To Ken DeMange for locating an artist and his creative contributions. To the Versailles Museum, the Subler, Poeppelman, Brown families and many others who contributed photos. The support from the Versailles Chamber of Commerce and Village of Versailles. And lastly, to Michele Schneible for the vision and Deb Pohl for her consistent passion and optimism.

These murals represent the last project of the 2019 Bicentennial Committee. In a short 21 years we look forward to the citizens of Versailles gathering and celebrating in the spirt that has carried the village forward for 204 years. The phrase coined by bicentennial committee member Aaron Moran, “Despite, Fire and Flood” has been updated to “Despite Fire, Flood or Pandemic” as Versailles continues to move forward despite obstacles. The Mural Committee consisted of Deb Pohl, and Eric Stachler. The Bicentennial Committee consists of Kim Custenborder, Alex Luthman, Todd Dammeyer, Aaron Moran, HB Hole, Deb Pohl, and Eric Stachler. Their hope is that the murals greet visitors for years to come.

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