Grant to be used to start mural to link Ferris, Dafford works|[07/26/07]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 26, 2007

The city will use $2,000 in grant funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission to put toward the cost of two artists combining efforts for a transitional mural along the floodwall, Mayor Laurence Leyens and North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield decided Wednesday. South Ward Alderman Sid Beauman was not at the meeting.

The mural will attempt to tie in the first mural, painted by local artist Martha Ferris in 2001, with the subsequent line of historic murals painted by Louisiana artist Robert Dafford.

&#8220The mural will have the two murals merge and help them make sense together,” Leyens said.

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The city applied for the funds in March, expecting a total of $5,000 from MAC to pay for a portion of the mural, which will cost a total of $16,500.

Leyens said the city would front the remainder of the cost to make sure work gets under way.

&#8220This is an important mural to get completed,” he said.

So far, 22 historic murals have been painted by Dafford and his team. The most recent, and the one closest to the Ferris mural, captures famous bluesman Willie Dixon, the legendary jazz club the Blue Room and the regionally famed Red Tops. The transitional mural will link some of the themes used in that mural with the vibrant colors portrayed in Ferris’ art.

Debate over whether the first mural should be repainted across the street at the Art Park at Catfish Row in order to keep a continual line of Dafford’s murals ensued in May 2006.

After meetings with the two artists, Leyens and Vicksburg Riverfront Mural Committee chairman Nellie Caldwell, it was decided that the two artists would work together to create a transitional panel.

Ferris’ mural covers what would be four of Dafford’s murals. If her mural had been moved, the committee planned to have 22 historic murals covering the north floodwall. After letters poured in from across the world opposing removal of Ferris’ mural, the committee opted to stick to 18.

Eleven more historic murals are planned for the floodwall.