Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Mennello Museum Mural

It was brought to my attention that some readers haven't seen any sketches relating to the Mennello Museum Mural. The mural is 48 feet wide by 7 feet high on a wall outside the museum. I have been sweating away for weeks getting this mural painted. High school and middle school students were invited to help. There was a show in the museum of paintings done during the "New Deal." During the depression, artists were commissioned by the government to create murals and paintings for government buildings. The idea behind this mural came about when Genevieve Bernard and I traveled to a high school out in Narcoossee Florida. There were cows just beyond the parking lot fence. In the art classroom an animated discussion happened when Genevieve and I asked, "What defines Orlando to you?" One girl said, "I'm always standing in lines when I go to clubs downtown, theme parks or even the bathroom." The discussion then changed to, "Who stands in lines and why?"

I created an event page on Facebook inviting people to come to the museum and be drawn in line. At first groups of people showed up and I sketched them all at once. Since each sketch took at least an hour however, I usually sketched people one at a time. The watercolor sketches were then assembled and blown up on the wall. At least 60 people ended up posing in line. People from all walks of life were bought together.

It was a challenge keeping the rough spontaneous look of the sketches when the wall was painted. I used acrylics and exterior house latex paint. I found a wonderful gel medium that thinned the acrylics down making it transparent and thin like watercolors. It is a shame I couldn't step outside myself to sketch the mural in progress. People who stopped out to help shot plenty of photos of the work in progress.

The mural will be unveiled October 14th between 6 and 8pm. All of the sketches will be on display clothes line style outside. I can see the end of the tunnel but right now I need to head out and work on the mural for the rest of the day.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


Gillian Olson said...

A great story, I hope the mural is going well.

John Wright said...

Wow, that is an ambitious step up from a sketch book!

Good work Thor. I'm sure this will be very well recieved by the community.


Balaji Venugopal said...

Sounds like a wonderful project! I hope it is going on schedule.

Barbara Deardorff said...

Looking forward to seeing the finished mural, such a great idea! The WPA, during the 30's, did many murals here in San Diego at schools, etc. Some have still survived. Say Hi to Terry and Zorro!