Greenwood spent the morning putting aside the evilness of this year’s months-long arson spree and instead focused on the good – community, caring neighbors, and talented individuals donating their time to clean up the neighborhood.
The unveiling of the mural along the safety fence in front of what used to be the Eleanor Roosevelt Building – housing Pho Tic Tac, Szechuan Bistro, C.C. Teriyaki and Green Bean Coffeehouse, and which was destroyed in the Oct. 23 arson – brought out a couple hundred people to the sidewalk by Taproot Theatre.
Greenwood Chamber of Commerce President Steve Giliberto summed up the experience this way.
“To be on the site of darkness and have a light shine over it,” Giliberto said. “It’s not only a testament to our neighborhood, but a testament to the human spirit. Evil happens, but good can always get the last word. It’s a great ending to a tough year.”
I spoke with two of the mural artists – John Osgood and Kevin “Sensei23” Sullivan – as they stood across the street in the Gorditos parking lot. They installed the mural in panels yesterday, then quickly covered it up with black plastic for the official unveiling. Osgood says the muralists worked in the empty space beneath Bartell Drugs for the last month or so, creating the mural in sections. There wasn’t space to lay it all out down there, so they saw it all for the first time during the installation.
“When we were like halfway through, I got goose bumps,” Osgood said. “Once I started seeing it go up, I was like, oh my god.”
The mural features the drama masks symbolizing Taproot Theatre (which owned the Eleanor Roosevelt Building), a firefighter rescuing a PAWS Cat City kitty during the arson, muscle cars from the annual Greenwood Car Show, a huge phoenix rising out of the flames, the name Greenwood, and images promoting the monthly Greenwood-Phinney Art Walk. Sitting on top of the Greenwood name and on top of a tree are two owls. Sullivan told me the owls symbolize watching over the neighborhood.
Taproot Theatre Artistic Producing Director Scott Nolte told me that Taproot had the initial idea to do something with the site, then a number of other people ran with the idea. While Taproot provided money for materials, the muralists donated all their time.
“It was a labor of love on their part,” Nolte said.
The crew of Station 21 was there (although not all are actually stationed there, but some were filling in because of the holidays).
And plenty of people watched from across the street, so they could see the whole mural at once.