O.C. downtown mural work begins

Pittsburgh muralist Bernie Wilke works on a section of the mural being placed on the Famoore building. (By Richard Sayer)

Work began Monday on one of three murals currently under contract to be put up in downtown Oil City over the next few weeks.

The murals are one of the many projects in the Oil City Main Street Program’s strategy to revitalize downtown Oil City.

All the murals are original works of art and will be installed on the exterior walls of three buildings along East First Street, Front Street and Elm Street.

The first piece, called “Oil City, Being Completed” by artist Bernie Wilke of Pittsburgh, was started Monday and is expected to be completed by the end of the week, weather permitting.

The mural is located on the east wall of the building that houses Famoore’s Restaurant.

Another work, “I See A Train a-Comin'” by artist Diane Adams of Washington, Pennsylvania, will appear just around the block on the east wall of the State Street Furniture building in the coming weeks.

The third mural, “The Blue Muses” by artist Ehren Knapp of Erie, will be put up in early July on the Elm Street side of the former Isaly’s building owned by Eisenburger Management.

Funding for the Oil City Downtown Mural Program is being provided by the Edith C. Justus Charitable Trust, the Laura M. Smedley Trust, the National Park Service via the Oil Region Alliance and several private sources.

The Oil City Main Street Program’s Promotions Committee is planning an unveiling event for Tuesday, July 19th, from 5 to 7 p.m. that will feature a walking tour to each mural site and remarks by the artists.

For more details on the unveiling event or more information about the Downtown Mural Program, people can contact Main Street manager Kathy Bailey by phone at (814) 677-3152, ext. 101 or via email at kbailey@oilregion.org.

In other news, the Pennsylvania Downtown Center announced Monday that Oil City Main Street is one of 35 downtowns in the state to be named nationally accredited programs by the National Main Street Center.

Accredited Main Street programs are evaluated annually by their coordinating program and all 35 communities met the 10 necessary performance standards including training requirements, planning methods and community involvement.