Art community comes together to complete new mural

Art community comes together to complete new mural
Teri Stein

Terry McNutt, Rick Toole, SEI life coach Carrie Herbert, Stacy Urban, Rodney Fuller, Christie Gardner, SEI life coach Kelly McMullen and Wendy Garver pose in front of the new mural.

Art community comes together to complete new mural
Teri Stein

Starlight artists work on painting the base coat on a new mural in downtown New Philadelphia. They also assisted with the creation on the mural on the left at an earlier time.

Art community comes together to complete new mural
Teri Stein

Starlight artist Rodney Fuller, right, and Jon Stucky, lead artist on the project, work on placing the base coat on a new mural in New Philadelphia.

Art community comes together to complete new mural
Teri Stein

Francesca Alguire of Parral is one of the artists from the community who is helping with the project.

Art community comes together to complete new mural
Teri Stein

Starlight artist Rick Toole enjoys painting and working on other crafts and paintings.


Starlight Enterprises Inc. artists are learning much about painting as they work as part of a group on a new mural in downtown New Philadelphia. They are learning painting is not about perfection, but about working together.

SEI artist Stacy Urban was concerned she accidentally got a little paint outside the area she was working on. According to SEI life coach Kelly McMullen, Urban lives to work on the mural projects.

Local artist Jon Stucky told her not to worry, and he came over to show her a few mistakes he had made by accidentally dripping paint on another spot.

Urban immediately grabbed a paint brush, and to assist Stucky, she began covering over his misplaced color. Her act of helping an art partner highlighted the purpose of the grant that was received to create the mural.

The grant was received from the Ohio Arts Council, and prior to receiving it, the Tuscarawas County Center for the Arts was invited to apply.

“They said only the most compelling applications would be considered. So they invited us to write a full grant application, which I was thrilled to do,” said Jeannine Kennedy, executive director of the TCCA. “They could fund either $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000. I asked for $15,000, and they fully funded us because they found value in the grant application. I think that it was the partnership between the arts community, volunteers and artists with special needs. The grant would be able to fund the total project. We also had the community’s involvement because we had to get a business to offer us the wall.”

The new mural is the south side of a storage building behind Mustard’s Restaurant, which is owned by Tony and Rachel Montero.

“The county commissioners said that we could display the movable panels that we created as a mock-up for the large artwork here in their public spaces and other public spaces. So it was everybody — the community volunteers of all ages, an artists group and artists with special needs. The whole thing came together, and it’s being done in the county seat, which is important for Tuscarawas County,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy was thrilled to get the grant.

“All of the money is being spent either on paying the artists to do the work, buying some supplies to support Starlight’s Arts Initiative and then the materials to actually do the project,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy stopped by recently to view the progress the artists had made.

“I think the project is coming together beautifully. I love the vibrancy of it. I love the fact that Starlight created all of the florals,” Kennedy said. “Then Jon Stucky, who is the lead artist on this project, has been extremely valuable in his partnership with Starlight and the past projects that he’s been able to do.”

Kennedy was able to show off the project recently when one of the outreach coordinators, Patrick Roehrenbeck of the Ohio Arts Council, made a visit to the TCCA.

“I said jump in the car because I want to show you what we were able to do with that grant and was able to drive him down here and show him everything that was going on. And he was absolutely thrilled,” Kennedy said.

The Ohio Arts Council has always supported the arts center in sustainability.

“They look at your total budget, and then you get a small percentage of that total budget in operating funds. We can use it for special projects. I usually use that funding to help supplement teacher pay for kids classes, to buy materials for kids classes, and then other things that the art center needs,” Kennedy said.

Roehrenbeck was happy with the state of the arts in Tuscarawas County. He said other larger cities, like Cleveland and Columbus, do not have anything like the TCCA.

“They have galleries. They have museums, but they don’t have community art centers in that they can host for guilds in the community, like the writers guild, the art guild, the fiber guild and the photography guild. They all meet there,” Kennedy said. “The different kinds of grassroots support that we get from not only places like the Arts Council, but local businesses, foundations, corporations, our members, nickel and dime contributions, and large contributions — the people in our community have really stepped forward and supported this art center for the last 20 years.”

Kennedy has been the executive director of the TCCA for most of that time.

“I’ve just been so blessed to be part of something that I know that is so good for our community,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy also thanked Stucky, the Starlight artists, and other area artists working on the project including Brenda Dean, Hayden Incarnato and Justin Page, all of Dover; Cole Senter of Strasburg; and Francesca Alguire of Parral.

“It’s the most unique project because I saw it in our art store at New Towne Mall, and then to see the transfers being made from our original artwork is just fabulous. What a difference it makes,” said Cassie Elvin, CEO of SEI. “It’s just fantastic, and it’s amazing when you talk to Jon about the color mix and what it takes to make some of the certain colors — the pricing difference because the colors are so intricate and it’s just amazing. Jon and Jeannine have just been so good with the community and sharing this grant.”

Elvin thinks the new mural and others the Starlight artists have worked on have added much to downtown New Philadelphia.

“You just want to walk the alleys and to have a hand in it. It’s a legacy for the (Starlight) artists,” Elvin said.

The individual art pieces made by the Starlight artists that the mural is based on should start circulating through area county offices and other locations sometime next month.

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