New mural coming to State Theater wall

Starting June 2, a new piece of public art will come to life on the back wall of The State Theater.

The mural's theme will be tied to "rebirth," symbolizing both Springfield's reenergized Downtown and the new life coming to The State Theater itself, says Marta Wojcik, the executive director of Springfield's Westcott House, who is one of the active members of the Public Arts Committee.

Springfield's Public Arts Committee was created by the Greater Springfield Partnership and includes a diverse group of local artists, cultural non-profit leaders, City officials, foundations and businesses.

Wojcik says the committee was approached about the possibility of a mural that would include participation from the community.

"There is this energy with a group of people coming together that's unmatched," she says. "Plus, those volunteers will be intrigued to come back and see the project once it's finished. I think it just builds community and brings a lot of good energy Downtown."

According to the website of the Harmony Project - a Columbus-based non-profit - the creation of the mural is part of a pilot for a TV show being shot in Springfield, in which area residents volunteer to help create the paint-by-number style mural and sing in a community choir.

"A committee like ours need to jump at any opportunity that is valuable and worthwhile, as long as the ultimate benefit is one of our goals," Wojcik says, adding that the project is being funded by a collaboration of local foundations, Public Arts Committee grant money, and the production company.

The pilot is being produced by WDT Alternative, according to Ashley Kline Shapiro, vice president of unscripted and slate publicity for ABC Entertainment and Walt Disney Television Alternative.

The mural painting will take place June 2, 3 and 4, and the choir will practice throughout next week, leading up to a performance on June 4, according to the volunteer registration websites.

Though the wall on the back of The State Theater was available to be painted, it needed repaired and prepped in order for Columbus-based artist Jeremy Jarvis and volunteers to jump in and get to work, Wojcik says. 

Eli Glaser, of Glaser Masonry, stepped up to make significant fixes to the wall, and Brett Boblitt, of QC Painting, power-washed and primed the mural space, Wojcik says, adding that both business owners adjusted their schedules to get the project space ready quickly to meet the TV pilot's production timeline.

Wojcik says Glaser and Boblitt were examples of the many entities that have put in time and energy to ensure all the pieces for the project happen in time, including the City of Springfield, the Greater Springfield Partnership, The State Theater owners the Altered State Group, and more.

"At the end of the day, everyone has been so willing to work together to make this piece of public art happen," she says. "Despite the tight deadline, everyone has come together, and as a result, there will be this beautiful new mural."