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Mural may be coming to Hammond Library wall

The south wall of the Hammond Library could soon be home to a mural highlighting some of Hammond's most recognizable events -- Running of the Llamas, Yellowstone Trail, an agricultural/rural scene and the Hammond Heartland Days event.The south wall of the Hammond Library could soon be home to a mural highlighting some of Hammond's most recognizable events -- Running of the Llamas, Yellowstone Trail, an agricultural/rural scene and the Hammond Heartland Days event.1 / 2
A sketch of the proposed mural in Hammond.2 / 2

The blank brick wall on the south side of the Hammond Library could become home to a mural highlighting a few well-known events in Hammond.

For months Erin McComb and Paulette Anderson have been working on creating a "brand" or positive image of Hammond. The two feel that a mural on the side of the library featuring the Heart of St. Croix County, Yellowstone Trail, Running of the Llamas and Hammond Heartland Days would provide a well-rounded "story" of Hammond, ranging from "historical, social, quirky and geographical," according to McComb.

McComb said once she shared the idea for a mural with Anderson, Anderson "took it and ran with it," finding people, resources and funding opportunities.

Anderson spoke to local muralist David Markson about the idea in mid-November and Markson sketched a concept and sent back his ideas with some estimated prices.

The mural would cost an estimated $10,000.

"Paulette (Anderson) has explained to me that getting formal village support, particularly financially, would position us to apply for grants to offset cost. The $10,000 price tag includes prep, equipment and installation of the mural -- and Paulette has numerous ideas and contacts we could leverage for donated labor and equipment, which would reduce the overall monetary cost to make the mural a reality," McComb said.

Anderson went to the Hammond Arts Alliance Board who agreed to give support of $1,000. Anderson contacted the Running of the Llama committee and they also agreed to support the mural with $1,000.

"Next, I thought I should get approval from the village to put the mural on their building and also ask for monetary support of $2,500. Erin (McComb) was excited about the project and agreed to take it to her committee. That committee approved the idea and sent it to full board. I am now waiting for the full board to approve the mural and hopefully some money," Anderson said.

Anderson also plans to contact the local Lions Club and Chamber and ask for monetary support.

"The Lions Club puts on our Hammond Heartland Days and the fourth frame would depict that event," Anderson said.

Anderson plans to write a grant to the AnnMarie Foundation for the remaining amount of money. "That amount depends on how my fundraising efforts go.The AnnMarie Foundation gives a maximum of $2,500," Anderson said.

Perfect location

McComb and Anderson agree that the the south wall of the library is the perfect location for the mural.

"It is facing the direction that most nonresidents would enter the town; the space is currently owned by the village, so there is more control for maintenance and upkeep needs; it overlooks Veteran's Park which means the risk of having a building put up to impede with visibility is much lower; the mural would reinforce the village's commitment to contributing to an attractive business district that appeals to both business and patrons," McComb said.

"I think it would be a beautiful public art piece and a great marketing focus for our region," Anderson agreed.

The mural would take 4-6 weeks to complete depending on weather and Markson's other responsibilities.

Anderson hopes to have the mural complete, or at least started, during some of Hammond's big events in 2011.

"My plan all along was to have the scaffolding up and the mural in the process of being painted during the Yellowstone Trail event on June 19," Anderson said. "I had hoped it would be completed by the Hammond Days Celebration and a special unveiling for Running of the Llama's 15th Anniversary on Sept. 10 and the Hammond Arts Alliance's 15th Anniversary on Nov. 12 and 13."

The look

Markson sent Anderson a rough sketch of what the mural could look like.

The first frame of the mural would highlight the Running of the Llamas, with a view of Main Street, the crowd and, of course, llamas.

The second frame would focus on Yellowstone Trail. "Inset map, 1920's vehicle at the Hammond Hotel  corner, the vehicle would be 'accessorized' to appear to be 'camping' and pedestrians."

The third frame would be agricultural, with a tractor and farmscape.

The fourth frame would highlight Heartland Days, possibly showing a parade, or something along those lines.

Above the three frames the mural would say Hammond with "Heart of St. Croix County" underneath.

Village approval

Anderson is still waiting on approval from the Village of Hammond.

The mural was supposed to be put on the Jan. 10 village board meeting agenda, but was accidentally overlooked.

McComb is the chairwoman of the finance and planning committee, and had the mural item on the Jan. 3 committee meeting agenda.

McComb said after discussion, the overall consensus was that the committee supported the idea and wanted to put it up for consideration at the Jan. 10 full board meeting.

McComb said she did not ask for a formal motion for this line item, and President Vince Trudell (a normal committee member) was not present at the committee meeting. Because of this, Village Clerk Kelly Brett did not put the item on the agenda for Trudell to review "and it was overlooked."

McComb said by the time she received the agenda, it was past the deadline to update the agenda, so she could not get it added for formal board action. So the project is in "holding" until it can be addressed.

"The impact of this is that we've missed some deadlines for grant money and it pushes back Paulette's goal to get fundraising started. While frustrating, I am confident that if we are successful in getting board support at February's full board meeting we will be able to make up for that lost time and money. I believe this project is worth it, and I'm willing to work hard for it, and there is no doubt that Paulette is capable of overcoming this wobbly start," McComb said.


McComb said because there has been no formal support from the village, there has been no formal fundraising.

"But Paulette is raring to go, and I'm hopeful we can get the support within the next month," she said.

Anderson said individuals or businesses interested in donating money for the mural should contact the Hammond Arts Alliance.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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