Art Guild unveils mural at library
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Dozens of residents met in the newly renovated Copperas Cove Public Library on Tuesday afternoon to see the unveiling of the new mural by the Five Hills Art Guild.
The mural, which can be seen in the lobby area outside of the Children’s’ books section, features the Ogletree Gap Preserve in the 1800s, when the still-standing stone building acted as a stagecoach stop and the post office, as well as a stagecoach pulled by horses with luggage and U.S. mail on top. Local wildlife and residents are found throughout the mural, with some being obvious, like the bison or the coyote, and some harder to detect, like the ring-tailed cat, the Comanche warrior on horseback or the cochineal, a bug which dark red dye comes from.
The mural came about through a partnership between the Five Hills Art Guild and the public library when the library was being renovated. Library Director Kevin Marsh said his only requests for the mural were that it feature the original stagecoach stop and an actual stagecoach, leaving all of the other details up to the 12 artists that worked on the mural.
Over a period of five weeks and hundreds of hours, Five Hills Art Guild artists Catherine Blashack, Linda Lapierre, Jeanne Lizama, Annette Sirriana, Alex Bussell, John Clark, Sheri Wilson, Pamela Grant-Rowland, Guilmaris Quinones, Emily Scott-Graham, Deanna Bussell and photographer Charles Wilson worked together to create the mural.
Blashack led the effort to research what plants and flowers and animals would have been in this area at the time. Wilson drew up the initial drawing that was transferred to transparencies to be projected onto the wall. The artists were able to utilize scaffolding and ladders to work on the mural simultaneously, according to Lapierre, who worked on the upper half of the mural as well as on the coyote in the right hand corner.
Lapierre shared that the graphic novel style of the mural posed a challenge.
“That was a new style for us, and also, we all have our own styles, so trying to bring multiple styles together into one piece is really, I feel like, quite an accomplishment,” Lapierre said.
Lapierre said she was excited about the mural because of the connection to Ogletree Gap, which will be the new location of the Five Hills Art Guild’s art festival to be held the last weekend in March.
“You know, having an historical mural of the post office that completely ties into our new festival location- what an opportunity for us to get the word out,” Lapierre said.
Marsh shared that it was fascinating during the weeks of painting to come in every morning to see what had changed.
“It came out beautifully,” Marsh said. “It’s got just a lot of, not only the artistic quality, but a lot of little historical details from native animals, native plants. There’s so much detail in this painting that you can sit here and kind of play a ‘Where’s Waldo’ game, and I think the kids will be enjoying that for years to come.”
Blashack expressed gratitude to the library for the partnership and to the community for the response.
“It really means a lot when the community comes together, and just like the last one [the mural at Ledger Furniture], the community claims it as their mural, which is totally, totally awesome,” Blashack said.