A “small” welcome to Paducah’s creation: the artist’s mural adds public art to the city center | New


If you visited downtown Paducah last week, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the large, brightly colored mural on an exterior wall of the Citizens Gym, where new public art is now welcoming people to the city. .

The spray painted mural, created by local artist Toney Little, pays homage to the community of Paducah – both obvious and subtle.

It shows an atom symbol, raindrops, dogwood blossoms and a quilt, ceramic tiles – a tribute to late artist Sarah Roush, baseball points and a big train, while ‘a representation of the river crosses it.

“Things like that definitely serve as benchmarks – certainly (for) people maybe who don’t know the area,” Little said of public art. “I know that when I go to a big city or an area that I don’t know, I often find myself marking out areas like the works of art that I have seen there.”

Little, owner of Etcetera Coffeehouse, was recently commissioned by Citizens Gym owners Adam Moyers and Brandi Harless to paint the mural on the corner of Third Street and Broadway. Last year, he also painted an origami-inspired mural on a fence outside the former Kresge Building site on Broadway, with the help of his fiancee Jean Rhodes.

The gymnasium mural was largely funded by private donations ($ 7,000) and the town of Paducah provided a micro grant of $ 2,000 for the facade and beautification. Overall, Harless said he has over 100 supporters.

“Anyone who comes to this intersection will see it and it’s amazing,” Little told The Sun.

“When Brandi and Adam gave me the wall, I was kind of blown away just because of the location. It’s like how could I create something worthy of such a big audience, you know? a little intimidated by the situation, but I’m also a lot more excited about it.

It took a coat of primer and about 40 cans of spray paint, take it or give it away, to do it. Little estimated it was taking him about six hours a day over a week, and he officially finished it last Monday. He posted several photos of his progress on the mural via his Instagram account, noney_paints.

“Basically, they just gave me an open prompt to do whatever I wanted to do, and because of the location, I didn’t want to do anything completely separate from the environment,” Little said, but he didn’t want to do a “live ‘Welcome to Paducah’” mural.

“… What I really wanted to do was just incorporate images that make me think of the greater Paducah area and the things that we all share culturally and historically.”

The chosen images weave many facets of the Paducah community, such as the railway industry, the arts scene, local ties to baseball, its “Atomic City” history, as well as the river, the dogwood trail and the quilt. .

Moyers said he and Harless liked the idea of ​​possibly having a mural on the wall, pretty much since they bought the building.

“We’ve talked to different people about it over the years and it never really took off, and this time around when we talked to Toney. My wife posted a message on Facebook and the donations started pouring in, ”he told The Sun.

“We like to see all the murals when we go to other towns and hope we can get more in Paducah.”

As Little mentioned, Moyers noted that the idea for the mural was to have a “Welcome to Paducah” sign without using those words.

“I think community art is great and important,” he said.

“I hope this will inspire other building owners to try and get more art. Otherwise, we just have big walls painted a solid color and to me these are wasted spaces. “

Adding more public art is something Paducah Main Street manager Katie Axt would be delighted with, and she has expressed her appreciation for the new mural.

“I love the way he reflects Paducah in so many different and creative ways,” Axt said. “I think it’s wonderful for South Third Street because a lot of people who come downtown come off the freeway, so it’s very visible and it reflects Paducah as a ‘creative city’. The city and the main street are happy to have been able to participate in this project.

Axt said she believes the city’s communities will derive value and benefits from public art, and she loves to see a concentration of it downtown, as well as in the Lower Town, because it’s an arts district and the two districts work well together.

“I would like to see other types of public art, in terms of installations, on buildings or interactive using light,” she added.

“There are many possibilities for integrating the arts into our built environment beyond wall paintings. This is something we would like to see more of and work with with organizations and real estate owners to help implement.

Follow Kelly Farrell on Twitter, @ KellyAFarrell11

Follow Kelly Farrell on Twitter, @ KellyAFarrell11


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