Fredericksburg EDA teams up with artists, property owner on mural project

June 17, 2024 | Fredericksburg Business News, Fredericksburg City News |

Fredericksburg’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) facilitated the recent mural project at the Purina Tower in downtown Fredericksburg.

The EDA served as a conduit for the project, working with staff from Fredericksburg’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism to use American Rescue Plan Act funds allocated to the City to pay for it.

The tower, which is at 401 Charles Street near the train station, now has a fresh coat of paint, a great design and “Welcome to Fredericksburg” painted on all four sides of the rectangular strips between the checkerboards. This now welcomes people arriving to Fredericksburg via train, automobile, bicycle or foot.

The famous checkerboard and rectangular design remained the same, but the colors were flipped (the red-and-white checkerboards became blue-and-white, and the blue rectangular strips became red). This was done to avoid running afoul of any trademark issues. Rainbow Painting (Saul Garcia) handled the painting, and two local artists (Gabriel Pons of PONSHOP Studio and Gallery and Pete Morelewicz of Print Jazz) designed and painted the mural.

Garrett and Dorothy Green, whose business is Green Fitness and Wellness, own the building. Garrett Green initially approached the EDA about the idea, which evolved over the past year.

“The EDA was thrilled to work with Garrett and the Green family on the Tower Project as another example of our commitment to making the City of Fredericksburg a thriving, vibrant, welcoming community,” said EDA Chair Suzy Stone.

Green agreed: “Dorothy and I are overwhelmed by how amazing the re-painting of the tower looks. It has truly made the city skyline shine again.”

The two artists both said they were delighted to be involved with the project.

“Fortunately, this project came about at the right time,” Pons said. “I had gained enough experience working on large-scale murals on a boom lift that I was confident that I could execute. Having graphic designer, Pete Morelewicz, on board to assist me was of great benefit. We were able to plan and practice well before we were 70 feet in the air, and that was a great advantage. What made the field work so exciting was that we could share our experience with the public immediately through social media, receiving positive feedback and responding to questions about the process. I think that kind of dialogue really helps the community feel like they’re experiencing history in the making.”

“The opportunity to work on such an iconic building was both immensely gratifying and a little bit daunting,” Morelewicz said. “Residents feel a deep connection to the tower and have a vested interest in seeing that nothing diminishes that. We took that public trust to heart.”

The EDA acts as a catalyst for responsible economic growth that improves Fredericksburg’s quality of life. The EDA receives its funding from annual fees derived from the issuance of bonds for qualified borrowers. Additionally, the EDA advises the City Manager and City Council on fostering economic and industrial development.

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