Making a statement: Business owners, students, teachers of Coulter Grove Intermediate School restore 1990s mural
By Matthew Stewart | (email@example.com)
Business owners, educators and schoolchildren have partnered together to brighten up the community.
Since mid-July, Coulter Grove Intermediate School art teacher Patti Young, teaching assistant Jaquie Stiver and nearly 10 current and former students have worked to restore the mural located at 1431 E. Harper Ave.
The original mural was painted in the early 1990s.
Building owner Steve Davis commissioned the mural restoration and purchased the supplies. Davis and his tenants — David A. Terry, who owns Balance & Support Dynamics; David Topor, who owns IntelliPlan Inc., and Karen Topor, who owns both AA Bonding and Laurel Cottage and Loft — are pleased with the group’s efforts.
“We hope it’s part of a revitalization for this area,” said Karen Topor. “We also want to make the building beautiful, so everybody will see that we care about our community, see that we’re invested in our community, and see that we take pride in our community.”
“We also thought it was important to get the kids involved, because the arts and education are very important to us,” said David Topor. “We wanted them to have a real sense of accomplishment. They’ve made a cinder block building come alive. It’s fun, and it’s already put smiles on so many people’s faces. We honestly hope it inspires others to do more murals.”
Making a statement
“We’re glad to be making a statement,” Young said. “I knew that the kids could handle it.”
“I’m very honored that she chose me, because it’s a really big opportunity,” said Brandy Barner, a Maryville Junior High School eighth-grader. “Not a lot of people get to work on murals, and I really enjoy working on them.”
Barner, who previously worked on the Foothills Farmers Co-op’s mural, is fascinated by each piece’s scope. “I enjoy it, painting all the details. The grass, flowers and animals. It’s very enjoyable, a great stress reliever. I’d love to work on another one.”
“I like turning something gross and yucky into something beautiful,” said Zoë Topor, a Maryville Junior High School eighth-grader. “Art is very important to me, because it’s a way for me to express myself.”
The mural restoration was a unique opportunity, as well, she said. “Since my parents are renting it, there’s something special about it. I hope that everybody will appreciate what we did.”
Meaningful to community
The building, which started off as a dry cleaners in 1950, housed the old Jimmy Cline restaurant, Davis said. “After Jimmy Cline’s, it fell into disrepair. When we bought it, it was a derelict building and the roof was falling in.”
Davis later ran Pest Free Home Exterminating out of the building. In recent years, the businessman has rented the building to both individuals and organizations.
After Peninsula Wellness Recovery Education Center moved out in December, Davis redid the building’s interior. However, the mural’s restoration wasn’t originally on his radar.
In June, David Topor moved into the building. He and building owner Steve Davis later started discussing signage, leading to an exchange about the mural.
The pair then discussed finding someone to redo the mural. Topor suggested Young, who spearheaded restoration efforts for Foothills Farmers Co-op’s mural.
“I can already tell that the Topors are going to be great for that corner,” Davis said. “I just got off the phone with someone who called me to tell me how meaningful the mural was for our community. They’re not alone, either. A lot of people are excited about it.”