By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Town and Country Lanes already has the coolest looking sidewalk in town.
So hey, why not have a large mural painted on the long north wall?
That’s what is expected to happen this summer, as longtime owner Don Lebold gave his blessings to a plan proposed by former mayor Lore Christopher and Jill Hagen on Feb. 20.
If the idea sounds a little crazy, well, Lebold said that’s only fitting because he’s been crazy enough to own a bowling alley for 48 years.
Lebold couldn’t believe the fortuitous timing, since Christopher’s proposal came shortly after he’d talked with manager Mardi Smith about such a thing.
“I was thinking two weeks ago we need some kids to do a public mural,” Lebold said, motioning to the north wall of his business, located at 3500 River Road North. “I mentioned it to Mardi. I said we need to have some high school kids paint a mural on the north wall.”
Just like that, Christopher proposed exactly such an idea, which would be Keizer’s second public mural following the one dedicated last October at Keizer Florist.
“I’m telling you, God is on our side,” Christopher exclaimed. “McNary High School kids will do the background. Everyone will have a chance to do it. We’ll have handprints, for something like $5 per hand. Then we’ll use that money for the next project. We’ve got the money for this project. The Oregon Community Foundation gave us $2,500. This will be super fun. We will be doing it this summer.”
As Christopher and Hagen showed him a rendering of what the mural would look like, Lebold’s grin widened.
“This is a super vision,” he said. “I love it, I love it. This is an answer to what I was envisioning.”
Christopher feels the large wall is a perfect canvas.
“I drive down by here every day,” said Christopher, who like Hagen is involved with the Keizer Art Association and the Keizer Arts Commission. “This wall really stands out and says, ‘Paint me.’ We had the $2,500 for a mural. We were looking for the perfect spot and this is it. I wanted it on the south side of Keizer, since they sometimes feel left out. And I wanted to support Town and Country.”
That’s only fitting, considering how much the business has supported the community over the years, including events like the Turn Around Achievement Awards started by Lebold 20 years ago.
Hagen noted the north wall at Town and Country is larger than the one at Keizer Florist.
“This one will be larger, so it may take a month to do it,” Hagen said.
As envisioned by Hagen, the mural will include pictures of grapes, filberts, trees, snowflakes, fish, cherries, peaches, hops, strawberries and irises. A river would go through the center of the mural. Children will be able to do handprints directly on the wall, with older children helping with the rest of the painting. A professional artist would be called upon to do up-close inserts of the various items.
Christopher said it could range from one artist doing all the inserts to artists doing one each. Those interested are asked to attend a meeting in council chambers at Keizer Civic Center on March 31 at 6 p.m. After that meeting, those interested will have 30 days to submit their designs. By that time, a compensation amount should be known.
“We want it to be a community project,” Hagen said. “We will be asking for some money to do this, but if someone can’t pay that won’t prevent them from participating. We want to try to include everyone, of all ages. The handprints will be one of the first things and will be done directly on the wall. The number depends on how much space we end up having. Older kids could do other parts.”
Much of the painting would be done by high school students, as envisioned by Hagen and Christopher.
“We will do a call to artists for the up-close inserts,” Hagen said. “The professionals would do only the inserts.”
Hagen noted her original design will have to be altered somewhat since the wall is so long.
“It’s a very long, narrow space we’re talking about,” she said. “The design was not made for a long, narrow space. It will have to be stretched out.”