Grove City, that is. We had a mural unveiling on Broad Street on the wall of Nonni’s Italian Trattoria. The painting was done by local artist, Andrew Hazelton. Let me tell you about meeting Andrew. Stacey Hogue of Green Pine Tree Studios had planned an arts event at beans on broad over two years ago. Three hundred people came. This town has only 8,000 citizens and had not boasted in being an artsty community whatsoever, yet three hundred people came to an arts event. I was working on a sculpture demonstration when Andrew introduced himself to me. He was from Vermont, but had been living here for some time. A painter here in little Grove City, he probably thought he was the only one. And then in the past few years a bunch of us artist-types have moved to town. “What? You, too!?!” We almost always exclaimed when we’d find out. Stacey, Andrew, and I joined with other artists to become a cheering section for one another.
And then there were more. In September, Olde Town Grove City sponsored the Art Walk. (They had been hard at work for many years getting grants, beautifying the downtown, promoting local events, organizing a farmers’ market, and commissioning public art!) In October 2011, the Grove City Arts Council had it’s first meeting. We still have a long way to go, but this town now boasts THREE murals and FOUR outdoor sculptures in the downtown. Plus, there is music every weekend at beans on broad, there is a new artist featured each month at Deer Creek Winery, and the Art Walk is now an annual event.
So, when Andrew got up on that podium and offered some words about the process, the challenges of making a large scale work of art, and about his wonderful family, I have to admit I got all teary. This town I once thought would do me in with all of it’s grey, blandness, lack of culture, and monochromatic aesthetic is coming into its own, bursting with color, life, mutual encouragement, community, and, yes, art.