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Martinsburg's Historic Preservation Review Commission OKs proposed mural

The artwork will be larger than David Heatwole's 'Put a Lid on It' project

November 08, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com
  • This photo illustration shows how a proposed mural would look on the side of 301 N. King St. in Martinsburg, W.Va. The mural's artist is David Heatwole.
Submitted photo

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — David Heatwole said the large mural he plans to paint and install on a building in downtown Martinsburg by early spring is "one small step" for him as an artist and "one giant step" for the city.

Heatwole's proposal to install an 8-by-20-foot mural on the north side of a historic brick building at 301 N. Queen St. received unanimous, albeit conditional, approval Monday night from the city's Historic Preservation Review Commission.

In issuing a certificate of appropriateness for the mural, the commission is requiring space be maintained between the wall of the building and the marine-grade plywood on which the mural is painted. The commission also required the artwork to be attached to the building in accordance to certain engineering standards and the submission of a letter from the building owners that declares the mural's maintenance to be their responsibility.

"I think it will be a great addition to the town," Heatwole said Tuesday.

The mural will greet motorists traveling south on Queen Street as they approach the city's historic business district.  

The artwork will be larger than Heatwole's "Put a Lid on It" mural project, which was installed at 404 W. King St. about two years ago. Heatwole said he will need to rent a "cherry picker" hydraulic man lift to install his latest artwork, which he believes is the city's largest.

The other fairly large works of art in Martinsburg are the Big Apple time capsule and the Doughboy monument, both along West King Street.

"This is just one more step to putting 'art' back in Martinsburg," Heatwole said.

And Heatwole already has another public art project in mind for the city: The installation of a sculpture to recognize 19th-century artist and author David Hunter Strother, who lived in Martinsburg.

"I still would like to see that happen," Heatwole said.

Known by the pen name Porte Crayon, Strother became a regular contributor to Harper's monthly magazine before serving as a topographer and staff officer in the Union army during the Civil War, according to historical accounts.

"There's still some question regarding where (the sculpture of Strother) should go," Heatwole said. "But I think it's something that should be done."

Strother once lived in Norborne Hall, which was built as a poorhouse in the early 1800s and remains standing at 396 W. Race St. in Martinsburg.

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