While the weather is still good, I plan to take a drive through the rolling beauty of Wayne County to observe the changing colors. It’s not just the changing leaves I’ll be taking in, however. I hope to make my way around the county to view the ten colorful murals that were recently added to the city-scapes of Wayne County.
During this summer’s “Festival of Murals”, Richmond, Cambridge City and Hagerstown hosted muralists who designed and installed public works of art on highly visible exterior walls. One of the public favorites was the depiction of a group of old-time firemen saving a cat falling from a window with billowing smoke. Rightly enough the mural was painted on a building that once housed the Richmond Fire Department and is now the home of Firehouse BBQ & Blues. Another favorite is “The Depot”, which shows the historic Pennsylvania Railroad Depot as it once looked, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of people on the go. The depot still stands and is currently being renovated and developed as the anchor of the Historic Richmond Depot District.
These ten new murals join a collection of old and newer murals (interior and exterior) in the area. Several tell unique stories of the county over the past 200 years, including the Underground Railroad and Gennett Recordings. For example, a large mural of jazz legend Hoagy Carmichael is located in downtown Richmond. A couple on a Harley, riding off down a country highway, can be seen on the back of Lil’ Louie’s Bar & Grill in Greens Fork.
The murals aren’t the only way to enjoy colors and art in Wayne County. The new Reid Hospital is home to over 700 pieces of art plus a rotating exhibit of art in its MacDowell Gallery, showcasing artists with a local or regional connection. A self-guided tour highlights some of the collection. The Richmond Art Museum, founded in 1898, has a permanent collection of American Impressionists, Taos School, the Hoosier Group, the Richmond School and other regional artists. They also have a small but significant collection of local ceramic artists including works by potters of the Arts and Craft Movement, the Overbeck Sisters and the Bethel Pike potters. Galleries at Earlham College, IU East, the area historic museums, and the local libraries also have permanent and rotating exhibits. There are also several private galleries, shops and art co-ops in the area that exhibit new and historic works of art, much of it for sale.
The Wayne County Convention & Tourism Bureau is currently working on a mural tour map that will include the “2010 Festival of Murals” murals and all the other murals in Wayne County, so check visitrichmond.org for updates and a link to the map. The “Festival of Murals” flyer, including photos of the 10 new murals and descriptions, can be downloaded from the website here . For more information about other art in Wayne County, check out visitrichmond.org.