A small group of individuals has been working quietly to resurrect the idea of painting a large mural on the blank south wall of the former Rupp Furniture building.
Brad Grime, Archbold mayor, confirmed the existence of the committee, which has been meeting since late last summer to discuss the project.
He said the group is working with Cincinnati-based artist David Rickerd. Grime said at this point there have been no contracts signed or money paid to Rickerd for a mural.
Rickerd has been in Archbold to look over the blank wall, which faces south to Stryker Street. He said the wall is perfectly prepared for a mural.
Grime said there is a concept for the design of a mural. He said he wanted to keep it under wraps to preserve an element of surprise for the community.
Grime said some designs are being shown to “select individuals” for the purpose of gathering feedback.
Concept drawings were shown to Matt Neff, an AHS graduate and Bryan High School art teacher.
“Wow,” Grime said.
Grime said Rickerd told him the design will continue to evolve and change as the project moves along.
The concept, Grime said, is to develop a mural that will “keep people coming back” to look and find new elements they hadn’t noticed before.
Grime said Rickerd told the committee the mural needs to be unique.
Grime used terms like “different,” “cool,” “funky,” and even added it will include “a little Buckeye flair.”
In April of 2015, the Red Cross Drug store, which was located at the northwest corner of the Stryker Street- North Defiance Street intersection, was torn down.
The goal was to make the intersection larger, to make it easier for large semi trucks to make turns.
At the recommendation of mural artist Eric Alan Grohe, of Seattle, Wash., the wall was coated with a special material to prepare it for a mural.
Burkholder Drywall LLC, rural Archbold, was the winning bidder for that project, at a cost of $55,000.
Rickerd was recommended for the Archbold job by Grohe. Grohe was the original choice of village officials for the mural.
Grime said a mural painted on the south wall of the building could cost in the $60,000-$70,000 range.
Donna Dettling, village administrator, said currently, the Archbold Community Improvement Corporation has $19,827.48 set aside for “a project” that could be a mural.
She said $710.86 came from a donation, and the remainder came when the village closed the books on the 2016 village Sesquicentennial celebration.
She said Archbold village council “needs to debate and decide” how to spend the money.
Grime said donations have not been sought for the mural project, but could be pursued as an avenue of funding.
There are six members of the committee working on the mural project. Grime said he wanted to keep the group small.
Grime is a member. He said his role is to act as a facilitator.
Also serving on the committee is Jim Wyse, former Mayor (2004-2016). Grime said Wyse has a deep knowledge of Archbold history.
Karla Ball, a member of Archbold Village Council, is part of the group. In addition to council, Grime said Ball is a member of the Black Swamp Arts Council.
Vaughn Bentz, another member of council, serves on the group as well.
Rhonda Leininger, executive director of the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce, is a member of the committee. Grime said as AACC director, Leininger needed to be part of the group.
Diane Tinsman, president of the BSAC, is part of the group, Grime said Tinsman provides a lot of contacts, a lot of know-how, and a lot of energy to the committee.
Won’t Bring Business
Grime said a mural won’t bring new businesses to town.
“I can guarantee you that,” he said.
“What we’re trying to do is add some art and color to downtown.”
It could, however, bring more interest to the downtown, and that could translate into more sales for businesses.