Joel Dugan

At the Fairmont City Council meeting Tuesday, Joel Dugan, chair of architecture, art and design at Fairmont State University, proposed a project in which a mural would be painted on the wall at Palatine Park below Merchant Street.

FAIRMONT — A Fairmont State University professor painted the brush strokes of an ambitious proposed public art project at the Fairmont City Council meeting Tuesday.

Joel Dugan, chair of architecture, art and design at the university, proposed a project in which a mural would be painted on the wall at Palatine Park below Merchant Street.

He made a presentation to council called "Finding Place in Marion County: Palatine Park Mural Initiative."

In describing the project scope, he said the project is proposed to take place over a four to six week span time during the early summer of 2020. He said he and Fairmont State University art students in a Public Art and Murals class would work to complete a 40-foot mural honoring a few of the noteworthy icons of Marion County.

He proposed Col. George "Spanky" Roberts, Hershel Woodrow "Woody" Williams, Johnnie Johnson and Joe Manchin be represented, and showed a proposed rendering to council. According to his presentation, the goal of the project is to connect the two ends of Palatine Park with a public art piece that "visualizes the iconic people who have helped to establish our sense of place."

Dugan said that by creating this partnership between Marion County and Fairmont State University, "we are able to keep our talent home and highlight the dynamic and talented young artists of our community." Some council members expressed support for the project.

"We'll make it happen," deputy mayor Philip Mason told Dugan after the meeting.

During the meeting, Mason said the project is reflective of the desire for a working relationship between the city, the county and the university, a sentiment echoed by Mayor Brad Merrifield.

Merrifield said the project is "right down our alley."

Dugan estimated the "raw" cost of the project at $10,000 for paint, brushes, rollers and simple "incidentals," though he is hoping to reduce that amount with donations.

As a result, council member Tom Mainella said he didn't think it would be a very expensive project.

Council member Barry Bledsoe said he thought the wall was "screaming to be painted," and said he is 100 percent behind the project.

Dugan, who said he made a presentation to the county commission about the proposed project, said he received support from the county commissioners.

He hoped to have an answer from the city and county on whether they would get behind the project by the end of September.

Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549, or ehrin@timeswv.com.

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