EAST LIVERPOOL – Students, their families, city officials and local artist Craig Wetzel gathered at Quality Stamp located at 432 Walnut for a ribbon cutting for the latest mural to be completed in the city.
The Monster Mural was painted by Wetzel on the side wall of the building of Quality Stamp.
Students from East Liverpool Schools submitted their drawings of monsters to Wetzel who picked 20 of the nearly 150 drawings he received and painted them into the mural.
Joia Rose, 7, was excited to see her pastel-colored striped monster who was wearing a crown as part of the mural. Joia said the idea for her monster came from her always liking the color purple and having a bed spread in her room that is all different colors. She also added that she likes rainbows so she decided to make a rainbow monster.
Jayce Barton, 8, who doesn’t really know where the inspiration came from for his sandwich monster, said he thinks it’s amazing to have the monster painted on the wall and that it makes him happy.
Selene Temple, 7, brought her original drawing in a frame with her to the ribbon cutting. She describes her monster as being mad because he is scary. Selene said she thinks it’s good to see her monster on the wall and it makes her excited.
Raina Wheler Flores, 9, who cut the ribbon at the ceremony, also provided feedback to Wetzel on the mural telling him that it needed lots of eyes to fill in the empty spaces. She also told Wetzel that if she had a big golden trophy, she would give it to him.
Wetzel, who took the time to pose with the students in front of their monsters, said the idea came from remembering a time his son, when younger, drew the large purple monster included in the mural and came up with the idea to have the contest for the children to submit their drawings of monsters.
Wetzel said it was a tough choice to narrow down the 20 monsters to be painted.
“I picked some like the clock monster because they were too original to not pick,” Wetzel said. “There were so many I could have chosen so I went with what fit in best composition wise. I had enough to do three or four monster murals. It was tough. There were a lot of good ones. “
This is the first mural Wetzel, who is an East Liverpool resident, has painted. He spent 14 days painting it, finishing it up on Wednesday, but the project has been in the works since June.
“It’s great to see the kids when they get out of the car and see their monster, to see their eyes wide open and their mouths drop open,” Wetzel said.
According to Mayor Greg Bricker, this is the fifth mural to be completed in the city within the last six months.
The murals are funded through grants from the Ohio Arts Council, the East Liverpool Women’s Auxiliary Club, the Columbiana County Land Bank and Heritage.
According to Bricker, the idea for the murals across the city was something they started doing as part of the city’s revitalizing plan.
Bricker said they had been trying to get the murals for a while and in addition to Wetzel, have partnersred with Youngstown State University students to do some and also with Russ Baker of Steubenville.
The mayor noted that they are looking for more places to put murals and more financing for them.
“We are looking for grant money to do as many as possible,” Bricker said. “Just look up and down Fifth Street and see the buildings where they were. So, part of our revitalization is to do as many as we can, as many as we can get funded for. “
Bricker also noted that the city is hoping to do more by the end of the year. There is one still kind of in the works, but a location and funding are needed for it.