The Owensboro Museum of Fine Art has been engaged by the Kroger Corporation to design and facilitate the creation of a community mural to be on permanent display in its store in Wesleyan Park Plaza as a part of a remodeling project currently in progress.
Kroger customers and members of the Owensboro community are invited to visit the museum through the end of May to participate in painting the mural. Painting sessions are scheduled during the museum’s public hours Tuesday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 1 to 4 p.m. The painting sessions are offered FREE to the public and open to ages 6 and up.
The museum has developed a process by which anyone can participate in the creation of this “community portrait.” Visitors who take part in this effort will be given an 8×8” square of the mural to paint with the guidance of the museum’s education staff who will assist them in color selection and technique. When all sections of the mural are completed, they will be assembled to create the 12’ x 5’ finished work of art, to be entitled “A Celebration of OBKY.”
The design concept for the mural is a celebration of Owensboro from its beginnings as a small riverboat town in the early 1800’s to the early 21st century when it ultimately became an All American City.
The imagery will convey Owensboro’s evolution from its founding by early Ohio River flatboatsmen to the modern progressive community which boasts a multimillion dollar riverfront development with hotels, playgrounds and upscale amenities. The mural will also celebrate the community’s recognition as a regional center for arts, entertainment and cultural tourism.
The region’s famed Bluegrass Music tradition is showcased along with works of public art which visually define the quality of life in Owensboro. Interspersed throughout the mural will be dogwood blossoms, commemorating the city’s widely recognized Dogwood and Azalea Trail.
The Kroger Mural Program started in 2015 with a store in Lexington. The intent was to give that community the opportunity to lend their talents to create an uplifting experience celebrating the spirit of the neighborhood. At the unveiling, Kroger CEO, Rodney McMullen, inspired by the artwork, requested that the program continue for selected new and renovated Kroger stores. Since then, Kroger has commissioned more than 100 pieces of original art by local artists all over the country, including 30 pieces in Kentucky. In 2017, Kroger received the Business Award for this program at the Kentucky Governor’s Awards for the Arts.
Bo Wachendorf, Art Project Manager at the Kroger Company headquarters in Cincinnati, is responsible for facilitating the program and has partnered with more than 45 arts organizations, museums and consultants to find local artists from Alaska to Alabama.
“For this mural, the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art was selected because of their proven ability to facilitate an original piece of art that engages the Owensboro community in its creation” said Wachendorf.
The renovation of the Wesleyan Park Plaza Kroger in Owensboro will include updated floral and bakery departments and restrooms. The deli will be converted into a culinary destination with meal options and Chicken Co. offerings. A new cheese shop and growler station will also be added. The Grand Opening and unveiling of the mural is scheduled in late summer of 2018.
The museum has partnered with a variety of local entities to create community paintings, including one for the City of Owensboro celebrating the opening of “Riverfront Crossing” in 2011. These collaborative works have been created by the museum for Owensboro Health Regional Hospital’s annual Farmer’s Market events and most recently for the Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Chamber Expo, held at the Convention Center. That painting documented the museum’s “RiverArtes” project which has acquired a collection of public art for the City of Owensboro’s Riverfront Development.
Admission to the museum is FREE although voluntary donations are requested of $3.00 for adults and $2.00 for children. Access for physically challenged individuals is provided at the Atrium entrance in the 9th Street parking lot. For more information phone (270) 685-3181 or visit the museum’s website. More information may also be found on Facebook and Twitter.