From the Courier-Journal…
“A mural — one that aims to be Louisville’s largest — is being painted on the concrete wall that divides the Highlands on one side from the Bon Air and Bashford Manor neighborhoods on and the other side.
Designer Chris Austerman said the mural is an attempt to connect the two sides.
“We wanted to make it a gateway for progress,” he said.
The mural is part of a larger effort to improve the appearance of Bardstown Road in Bon Air and Bashford Manor.
The Bon Air Neighborhood Association has been working since 2010 to improve the area by upgrading lighting, repairing sidewalks and taking care of common areas and medians.
Bon Air president Evelyn DeCuir described the mural as the “crown jewel project.”
“It represents such an important part of what needs to be communicated about the area,” she said.
Metro Councilman Brent Ackerson’s office set aside $33,000 for the improvement projects, with $10,000 specifically for the mural.
The cost of the mural has been more than expected, and the Bon Air association needs to raise another $7,500 to $10,000 to finish it, DeCuir said.
To raise the money, the association is spreading the word about how to donate through social media. The project has a Facebook page: BANA mural.
DeCuir also said she and Sabra Crockett, the project manager and the artist painting the mural with the help of volunteers, recently visited the Highlands Commerce Guild to let businesses within the community know about the project. She said they already received a donation from that. The mural will include a portrait of Abraham Lincoln and historic Farmington, the plantation house where Lincoln’s friend Joshua Speed lived and he visited long before he was president.
The mural also says “Bardstown Road” and has the slogan, “Wheels and Feet Share the Street.”
The forms of transportation depicted get more modern from left to right, to represent progress. The mural also has horses, which DeCuir said ties to the heritage of horses in Louisville.
In order to encourage donating to the mural project, Farmington has offered to give free private tours to some of the higher level donors.
Crockett said one of the problems she didn’t foresee was pigeon excrement. Pigeons have nested on ledges at the top of the wall where the mural will go and have polluted the wall.
“If it continues to stay on there, it will continue to degrade whatever’s on there — sealer, paint, whatever,” she said.
It was difficult to see how much was really there until the wall was primed, she said. Once they started seeing it coming down, she realized it was definitely something that had to be addressed.
“I do not want this mural to fail,” Crockett said.
DeCuir and Crockett are talking about possibly buying plastic spikes to deter the pigeons from landing on the ledges. They are still finalizing what that would cost.
Another unexpected cost was renting a 26-foot scissor lift to reach the higher parts of the wall that need to be cleaned. Crockett was hoping to be able to use scaffolding, but gravel made that difficult. The lift costs $840 a month, plus delivery charges.
The wall also had moisture problems that led to having to buy a more expensive paint and primer.
Austerman, the designer, is optimistic that everything will work out.