By Wayne Allen
November 6, 2013
Common Staff Writer
A celebration was held Thursday evening at the Scioto County Welcome Center celebrating the completion of the mural dedicated to the Portsmouth Public Library.
In April it was announced that Louisiana artist Robert Dafford would return to Portsmouth to create the mural.
One of the first places Portsmouth Murals President Robert Morton announced the addition of a new mural was to the Portsmouth Rotary Club.
“Robert has done quite a lot of study already because it’s been in the works for a couple of years,” Morton said.
At the time of the mural announcement, Portsmouth Library Director Paige Williams provided some history of the organization. She said philanthropist/industrialist Andrew Carnegie offered communities matching funds to help build a community library.
“The selection of the library for the mural was the idea of the Portsmouth Murals Committee. I think due impart to its history and beauty, it was decided the library needed its own mural,” Williams said.
Williams then provided some history of the Portsmouth Public Library to those in attendance. “There has been a Portsmouth Library since 1879 when land was donated by the Portsmouth Board of Education at the corner of 5th and Court Streets. At the bottom of the mural you’ll see a picture of that building; it was a little red building.
Portsmouth was growing by leaps and bounds at the time so a local historian decided we (Portsmouth) needed a much bigger library. He made a formal proposal to the Carnegie Corporation. As a result they gave Portsmouth a much larger donation than they typically gave. At the time the typical donation for a library was $10,000 to $30,000 and they gave Portsmouth $50,000. In today’s dollars would equate to $1.36 million,” Williams said.
She said there were 111 Carnegie Libraries built in Ohio. With 61 still operating as a library, including the Portsmouth Library.
Other speakers for the event included Morton and Dafford.
“The library mural is shown in one of the most propionate locations of all of the murals. I think the library has to be the heart of the community and that location is really the heart of all of our murals,” Morton said.
During the event the group was able to connect to Dafford via Facetime. He was on another mural project in the south and paused to address the group about the process of developing the library mural.
According to www.portsmouthohiomurals.com, “The purpose of the floodwall mural project is to
create an outdoor art gallery depicting the last two centuries of the history of Portsmouth Ohio and the surrounding area. The section of floodwall included in the project is 20 feet high and extends for 2,090 feet along Front Street in the historic Boneyfiddle District of downtown Portsmouth. Painting began in 1993.
The floodwall mural project is an ongoing endeavor of Portsmouth Murals Inc., a non-profit, all-volunteer organization. Financial support is derived from public and foundation grants, fundraising events and most importantly, corporate and individual contributions.
For more information about the Portsmouth Murals visit, www.portsmouthohiomurals.com.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-1151, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.