PORTSMOUTH — The Portsmouth Murals are expanding their reach across the flood wall of the city, as artist Robert Dafford and his assistant Chris Pavlik began working one of two new panels to be completed by next year. The new two-panel mural will commemorate the rich history of athletic success from the area.
Dafford and Pavlik began prepping the first panel late last week and started painting Friday, August 12. The new mural will feature 17 individuals from Scioto County, Ohio and Greenup County, Kentucky who have excelled sports on a national and world level.
Jeremy Bates, Tom Blackburn, Barbara Stevens Cleveland, Gordon Collett, Chuck Ealey, Mark Frazie, Brian Gahm, Curt Gentry, Lida Fee “FiFi” Matthews-Tingley, Elbie Nickel, Ray Pelfrey, David Pyles, Brett Roberts, Mike Schuler, Robin Hagen Smith, Junior Spencer and Adam Stevens will all be depicted on the new mural.
“The new mural that we’re talking about is going to be done in a two-year period,” Robert “Bob” Morton, CEO of Portsmouth Murals Incorporated said, during a Portsmouth Rotary meeting Monday, August 15, 2016 at Shawnee State University. “The first panel, (will be completed) this year, then the next panel next year.”
The goal of the new mural was to represent the sports history of the area outside of baseball and the early years of football, which already have completed murals.
“Because we have already covered early football and we’ve covered the entire era of baseball, we didn’t say much about contemporary football, or boxing, or coaching, or drag racing, or NASCAR, or basketball,” Dafford said. “There are a lot of sports heroes from Portsmouth who have achieved national or international and Olympic status.”
Dafford said the mural will be different from the other sports murals he has completed for the Portsmouth flood wall. Since the mural will not be limited to an individual sport, Dafford and his assistant have decided to create a design that will resemble a montage than a single realistic set with all of the individuals lined up in a row.
“We’ve come up with a much more interesting way and a much more dynamic way, which is more appropriate for sports,” Dafford said. “We’ve got aggressive colors and we have an aggressive design, which I think you’re really going to like.”
Dafford said he, along with his assistant will be working on the first half of the new mural for several weeks. The other half will be completed in 2017.
Pavlik will work on his first mural in Portsmouth with the new sports panels.
“He has painted a number of murals and he’s got a real knack for it and ability for it,” Dafford said. “He is a good guy to work with and a good guy to meet.”
Several members of Pavlik’s family have made the journey from Kansas City, Missouri and Detroit, Michigan to see the newest work of the collection of murals.
“We have a world-class art attraction here,” Dafford said.
To be selected for the new mural, each individual must have achieved national recognition, awards, or championships in their particular sport, as well as being from Scioto County in Ohio, or Greenup County in Kentucky.
“I don’t recall exactly how many nominations we got, but we have narrowed it down, after long discussion, to 17,” Dick Grimm, Chair of the new mural committee said.
Joining Grimm on the committee were Bill Warnock, Al Oliver and John McClellan.
“I have had a lot of chores over the years in the community, but I have to tell you this is the toughest chore I have ever taken on,” Warnock said Monday afternoon. “How do you draw a line in the sand with all the great athletes and people we have in the community. We tried to come up with a criteria and I’m not sure that I’m totally comfortable with the final results, but I’m not sure that I ever could be comfortable with the final results, but we gave it our best shot.”
With all the debate over who should be included on the new mural, Warnock acknowledged some people will question who was added to the list, as well as those who were left off the list, but hoped all would enjoy the new mural.
The new mural is located south of the TOSRV mural and is located between 2nd and Front Streets in Portsmouth.
The Portsmouth Murals span over 2,500 feet of flood wall in Portsmouth. Work on the first mural began in May of 1993.
Bob Morton, Bill Warnock, Chris Pavlik and Robert Dafford pose in front of what will be the newest addition to The Portsmouth Murals between 2nd and Front Streets in Portsmouth, Ohio, Monday afternoon, August 15, 2016.
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.