Something’s happening here


By Marilyn Delk


Have you seen the two impressive murals currently greeting visitors to downtown Greenville? The first mural to be installed, a reproduction of a vintage post card, can be seen at the corner of Washington Avenue, Broadway, and Martin Street, while the second, a triptych of Darke County’s own Annie Oakley, appropriately looks down from the second floor of the building housing Sure Shot Tap House. These two new works of art adorning the local townscape are the fruits of efforts by an array of local folks, efforts that began about six years ago when Eileen Litchfield, now Chair of the Mural Committee, first spoke to the then director of Main Street Greenville about such a project.

Between then and now, Main Street Greenville staff members have come and gone, but Eileen remained on task, eventually calling together a small group of interested local citizens who are ultimately responsible for the mural installations In addition to Litchfield, those currently involved in the project are Mississinawa Valley Schools art teacher Ashley Austerman, Darke County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Greg Billing, local civic booster Dick Brown, current MSG Director April Brubaker, Darke County Center for the Arts Executive Director Andrea Jordan, Ansonia Schools art teacher Stephanie Schieltz Lowder, MSG Board Representative Jennifer Overholser, Darke CountyParks Financial Director Deb Shiverdecker, MJS President and community activist Matt Steyer, artist Timothy Wells, and Wintrow Signs and Designs owner Joe Wintrow. Each of the committee members has contributed ideas, labor, and/or clarity to the project. (Full disclosure, I have also met with this committee.) The actual installation of the murals, however, could not have been accomplished without the experience and counsel of Timothy Wells and the amazing efforts of Joe Wintrow.

Although Tim has been contributing to the arts in our area since 2016 when he applied for and won a residency in Troy, the Wayne State University graduate is a resident of Ypsilanti, Mich. Among many other exciting artistic activities, his services locally include involvement with Troy Main Street’s Sculptures on the Square event. His connection to Darke County began when he became the visiting artist coordinating an Ohio Arts Council grant teaching photography to Mississinawa Valley students, a project culminating in the mural that currently enhances an underpass in Union City, and eventually leading to his setting up shop in Union City where he continues to help develop and promote the arts locally.

Joe Wintrow, with his wife Laura and son Ryan, operates Wintrow Signs and Designs, providing businesses with signs of all kinds including wraps for their vehicles as well as apparel designs. Joe had seen power boxes covered with art in other towns and cities, and wanted to bring that concept to his home community, leading to a conversation with Ms. Litchfield; also, he had worked on Mississinawa Valley’s mural project. When Joe joined the mural committee, he was ready to make things happen. Offering to donate his services to oversee the beautification of power boxes in downtown Greenville, he led the group’s initial project that saw Greenville High School art students create the delightful designs now embellishing power boxes on several street corners.

In the meantime, a well-written grant proposal deservedly earned the funding needed to proceed with the project, although the subject of the mural was still undetermined. When Eileen came across an old GREENVILLE post card in the files of Garst Museum, things rapidly progressed. Tim Wells created the designs for not only the post card mural, but also the Annie Oakley triptych. Joe Wintrow utilized his company’s technology, and together they created what Joedescribes as two “great big stickers,” (albeit stickers that are laminated to offer protection from ultraviolet rays.) Voila!Two exciting art installations now greet visitors to downtown Greenville.

But that’s not the end of the story; another mural is in the final stages of design by a highly respected artist, and a fourth idea is also taking form—projects planned for installation when the weather once again allows such activity to take place. And so the excitement continues…

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