Artists finish Palatine Park mural

After ten days of work, the Fairmont State University artists complete the massive mural in Palatine Park.
The mural took ten days to complete. It features five historic figures from Marion County.
The mural took ten days to complete. It features five historic figures from Marion County.(Joe Buchanan)
Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 5:50 PM EDT
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After ten days of work, the massive mural featuring five Marion County historical figures was finished Monday.

“I am so proud of the students, they worked so hard,” said Joel Dugan, chair of the Department of Architecture Art and Design at Fairmont State University.

He, alongside five students, worked on the project featuring the faces of:

  • Johnnie Johnson - the Father of Rock and roll born in Fairmont in 1924.
  • Col. George S. “Spanky Roberts - The first African American military pilot from West Virginia.
  • Julia Pierpont - the wife of Francis Pierpont, known as the ‘Father of West Virginia.'
  • “Aunt Hat” Wilson - the last slave sold in West Virginia.
  • Coal Miner - paying tribute to the coal workers who lost their lives in West Virginia.

“[The students] brought together some elders of the community as well as some fellow professors at Fairmont State and they went over the history here in Marion County,” said Dugan.

Students ruled out allowing politicians and athletes in their mural, instead, wanting to focus on the luminaries of the community, rather than the traditional icons people traditionally focus on. Dugan likened these figures to the scaffolding that Marion County was built on.

The public already has shown massive support for the mural. Dugan says he has heard from people ensuring they will guard the piece from any vandalism. Several Marion County residents spoke to Dugan about the piece including Marion County Commissioner Randy Elliott who began discussions of other murals in the park.

“I think it is an opportunity for what was just a class we put on as kind of an experiment and align the outcome with it. I think now it is in consideration that ‘maybe this is something that we add into the permanent curriculum.' We run it every Spring and we think about a new mural coming every Summer,” said Dugan.

But first, he said he needs a few days rest.

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