Downtown’s farm mural to get a facelift

04/21/2011 2:18 PM |

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The faded mural on the East End Arts Council's barn.

The “Welcome to Riverhead” tractor mural on East End Arts Council property is about to get a face-lift.

It’s a little faded and worn, so downtown Business Improvement District officials are planning to bring the same artist back to either paint a new mural or touch-up the old one.

The mural was painted in 2003 by Pennsylvania artist Wayne Fettro and was paid for by the Agricultural Heritage Festival committee. The BID board agreed last Wednesday to allocate $6,000 to hire Mr. Fettro for a week and pay for his hotel room.

“To me, that barn is a disgrace the way that mural has been left to decay,” said BID member Ed Densieski, who spearheaded the move to have the barn painted in 2003, when he was a Riverhead Town Board member.

At the time, the project was opposed by the town’s landmarks preservation committee, since the barn itself has landmark designation. Then-councilwoman Barbara Blass said it would look “a little tacky.”

The East End Arts Council also wasn’t happy about it at the time. The barn, which was built before 1870, sits on town-owned land that is used by the East End Arts Council. The council’s executive director, Pat Snyder, declined to comment when contacted this week on the mural plans.

BID members say part of the problem leading to the mural’s decay has been that the property’s irrigation system has been regularly spraying water at the painting’s base.

Richard Wines, chairman of the landmarks preservation committee, said the group’s original objection was due to the fact that the first version of the painting represented Pennsylvania farming scenes, complete with a grain silo.

“We wanted to make sure the picture represented Long Island farming,” he said. The image was amended accordingly, and Mr. Wines said the committee has no problem with it now.

The barn was originally a carriage house owned by Moses Benjamin, who operated a drug store near where Parto’s restaurant is now, according to Mr. Wines.

Mr. Densieski sad the mural has been well received over the last eight years.

“That mural has been featured in many, many magazines,” he said at last Wednesday’s BID meeting. “It’s very popular. People talk about it. And I think it would be nice if we got that back to its original luster.”

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Comments

comments

9 Comment

  • So glad to see that it is going to be restored. It’s a wonderful tribute to our agricultural heritage.

  • I love this mural! Please recondition it and bring a little of our agricultural pride BACK to downtown Riverhead!

  • Why is someone from PA painting a mural for the East End Arts Council? I would think that an artist from the East End could be found.

  • the original artist is painting it,we asked east end arts council to do it and pat snyder told us no.we always look locally first. we also asked a local artist from the east end art gallery and he never got back to us

  • Are there any materials available to protect the work, so this doesn’t happen again so quickly?

  • ONE OF THE PROBLEMS IS THAT WATER FROM THE SPRINKLER SYSTEM IS HITTING IT,WE WILL TRY TO CORRECT THAT,ALSO WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT DIFFERENT PRODUCTS TO SEAL IT. THANKS RAY

  • @ Mr. Pickersgill
    The Bid has money for this – but no money for a local artist? OUTRAGEOUS!
    I know personally that a qualified local landscape muralist Alan Bull, was not even asked to do this project.
    This solution is unacceptable. I can recommend 5 different painters who will do it for a lot less than $6000.
    No hotel involved.

  • IF YOU KNOW A LOCAL ARTIST QUALIFIED TO DO THIS HAVE THEM CALL THE BID OFFICE,727-0048,AS FAR AS EAST END ART GALLERY GOES THE BID GAVE THEM OVER 20 THOUSAND DOLLARS LAST YEAR WHICH INCLUDED ADVERTISING FOR THEIR EVENTS.THE SCIENCE CENTER GOT 10 THOUSAND, TOWNSCAPE GOT 6 THOUSAND,RAILROAD MUSEUM GOT 2 THOUSAND.THESE GROUPS ALL BENEFITED THRU THE BID.GUESS WHAT CLIFF?? NONE OF THIS WAS WITH YOUR TAX DOLLARS.DO YOU SEE ALL THE WORK GOING ON AT EAST END ART,WELL THANK THE BID,THE REST ROOM RENOVATIONS,AGAIN THANK THE BID,COMMUNITY GARDEN JUST GOT 5000 DOLLARS FROM AGAIN THE BID.WHEN WE GIVE THIS MONEY TO THESE GROUPS WE ASK ONE THING,PLEASE SPEND WHAT YOU CAN LOCALLY.ALL OF OUR MONEY COMES FROM A SPECIAL TAX THAT THE BUSINESSES AND BUILDING OWNERS PAY ON MAIN STREET.ONE LAST THING ALL THOSE EVENTS WE DO ARE FREE AND WE DO NOT USE TOWN SERVICES.

  • ONE LAST THING CLIFF ALL THE THINGS THE BID ACCOMPLISHES IS WITH VOLUNTEERS,NONE OF THE MEMBERS GET PAID.WE DO IT TO MAKE DOWNTOWN RIVERHEAD A BETTER PLACE,AND IT IS WORKING.ALSO THE BID TAXES WHERE LOWERED THIS YEAR.MAYBE YOU SHOULD COME TO DOWNTOWN AND SUPPORT THESE BUSINESSES,THERE ARE MANY ON MAIN STREET.PEOPLE ALWAYS TALK ABOUT HOW MAIN STREET IS A GHOST TOWN BUT DID YOU KNOW WE HAVE MORE RESTAURANTS ON OUR MAIN STREET THAN PATCHOGUE.DID YOU EVER TAKE YOUR KIDS TO THE SCIENCE CENTER, OR HAVE YOUR PRESCRIPTIONS FILLED AT BARTHS.HOW ABOUT HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE EASTER CANDY AT STAR.JUST A FEW OF THE BID MEMBERS.IT IS EASY TO BE NEGATIVE AND HARDER TO BE POSITIVE,WE CHOSE THE HARDER ONE AND IT IS WORKING