by Alexandra Muto
The Grand Island Plaza holds many prominent local businesses. However, many residents overlook the plaza because of the appearance of its back wall. Grand Island resident Corey McGowan, with the help of his mother, conceived a mural project for the wall that will begin on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. He hopes to not just spruce up the building, but showcase Grand Island's rich artistic offerings, history and community.
"I often thought that the true colors of Grand Island (are) not depicted by what could be seen from the passing eye," explains McGowan, "and three weeks ago ... (my mother said) that ... an artwork of a mural would suit the plaza well." Inspired by her suggestion, McGowan spoke with Don Singh, the owner of the Grand Island Plaza, who was enthusiastic about the idea.
McGowan first enlisted the help of Adam Horrigan, a Grand Island native and Art Institute of Chicago student who has received a prestigious Bank of America award for his murals. Horrigan is currently designing the mural, which "will depict some of the major features that Grand Island has to offer, many of which date back to the 1600's," according to McGowan. McGowan predicts that "(Adam) will have a completed design by the end of August."
McGowan has also appreciated the opportunity to meet many residents who are dedicated to the upkeep of their town. "In a short amount of time, I have sat in the homes of seasoned Island natives who love and appreciate where they come from," says McGowan. Henry Carroll, Nonnie Carroll, and the Historical Society provided background research for the project's historical piece. Jim Sharpe, interim president of the Chamber of Commerce, and Mary Cooke, the town supervisor, also gave McGowan advice about financing the project. These contributions helped inspire McGowan's efforts to highlight the beauty and community of Grand Island.
Professional muralist and Island native Terry Klaaren is offering his help as well. A painting of the Town Commons by Klaaren, pictured below, is being raffled to raise money for the project.
McGowan has set lofty goals for the completion of his mural, but with local support, he is confident that the project will prove a wonderful success. "With the hands of myself, my mother, girlfriend, and many friends in Grand Island, we plan on completing this project by Oct. 13, 2012, to unveil at the Taste of Grand Island Fall Festival," announces McGowan. "By ways of generous support from the Hurld family, Gui's lumber and Fastenal, this project will begin this coming Saturday, when we will begin applying a base coat to the wall."
For more information, contact Corey McGowan at [email protected] or call 716-341-1040.