City council approves farmer’s market mural

Ryan Young

The Edmond Greer Bridge will soon provide a picturesque backdrop to the Haymaker Farmer’s Market.

Kent City Council approved the painting of a mural Wednesday underneath the bridge, which is the site of the market.

The Ohio Arts Council granted the market a $980 Art Access Grant to create the masterpiece, which was applied for in March. The market was also granted a Celebrate Kent! Grant for $750.

The grants will fund the painting of columns and supporting beams under the Haymaker viaduct by Kent State graduate and local artist Elaine Hullihen.

“Using history as a foundation, I am portraying what has since been cultivated in our little town and what continues to flourish,” Hullihen said. “This includes the hard work of our farmers and the spirit that is woven into the fabric of our community.”

The project titled “We Give, We Gather, We Grow” will also include historic images of Kent like “the university, Standing Rock and the mill,” Hullihen said. Over that layer will be a collage of brightly colored images such as “vegetables, farmers and musicians,” she said.

After the outline for the piece is drawn out, all members of the community will be invited to schedule a time to come and help give it some color.

Kelly Ferry, a board member and interim manager of Haymaker Farmer‘s Market, said she believes that when the mural is finished, this community participation will translate into something more than pretty pictures.

“To me personally, and I think I can speak for many others in the city, because the conversation has been going on for some time, this mural means giving the market a real sense of place within the city structure,” Ferry said.

It also gives the neighborhood the opportunity to, “become stakeholders in their own downtown,” she added.

Ward 5 Councilwoman Heidi Shaffer is also on the board of directors for the market and was among the members of city council who approved the mural.

“The bridge, as it stands now, is sort of an eyesore,” she said. “It has graffiti and paint peeling from it, so the mural will revitalize the area as well as give the market a home in downtown Kent,” she said.

The actual sketching and preparation for the mural will begin before winter prevents further work.

“Then at the crack of spring we will go for it,” said Hullihen, who hopes to be putting the finishing touches on the piece in June 2011.

“It is a great honor to contribute something positive to a town that has been such a great home to me,” Hullihen said.

–Ryan Young