Decatur Artists Submit Berlin Mural Designs

BERLIN — Submissions are in and an artist has been selected for the new mural to be painted at Stephen Decatur Park.
Judges for the contest have also been lined up and paint is tentatively expected to start flying early this spring.
The deadline for design submissions for the park mural ended this week. The contest was open to all Worcester County high school students but it was the school that shares its name with the park that produced all nine entries.
“The contest was open for students in grades 9 through 12,” said Mary Bohlen, deputy town administrator. “As it turns out, all of the entries ended up coming from Stephen Decatur [High School] students.
Now that all submissions are in they will be reviewed by Ann Ashman, the selected muralist, and a panel of seven judges.
“Moving forward, probably not until after the holidays, the committee and the judges will get together and start looking at the different images that the students created and, working with the muralist, will start deciding on what images to use,” Bohlen said.
The panel might not simply select one winning submission but could decide to combine certain elements from multiple designs. Ashman’s expertise will be relied on heavily for coming up with a practical mural that preserves the spirit of the submissions.
“Something might look good on paper but won’t necessarily translate well to a big wall so she’s going to help with that kind of thing,” said Bohlen.
Ashman has experience working with the town in the past.
“She was working with our electric department this past summer where they re-painted the electric light poles,” Bohlen said. “She actually was assisting with that project, painting them in such a way that they maintain that antique look.”
With all of the parts in order, Bohlen confirmed that the town’s plan is still to begin work on the actual mural in early spring. Volunteers will be needed to do the painting and local students in particular are being encouraged to take part. The new mural will serve as a replacement to the faded and weathered picture that currently stretches across the wall behind the park’s tennis courts.
Berlin is seeking grant funding to renovate those same tennis courts and the nearby racquetball courts as well. A concrete time line on those projects isn’t available but the town plans to finish the mural first and will take steps to protect it in the case of major renovation.