It’s been 20 years of hard work and collaboration across the country for a five-story mural to come to life.
“I'm going to make something so big, you can't miss it, and thus started five stories high and 120 feet long," Ellen Griesedieck, artist and founder of the project, said.
Griesedieck said she was inspired by two things. The first was back in 1999 when the idea for a large-scale art project came to her while she was creating a painting of a Boeing airplane. Second, she wanted the artwork to inspire children about all different types of careers.
“They are completely unaware of what's going on around them...whether it's the farmer or the roofer, or what's happening in the foundries,” Griesedieck said.
The mural is located at the American Mural Project in Winsted and will open to the public Saturday at 10 a.m. It pays tribute to the many workers across the nation, including first responders, builders, truck drivers and teachers.
Griesedieck said she spent time with each person featured in the mural over the course of two decades.
“I loved being around working situations. That's what started the idea of walking into those situations and saying 'I just want to be a part of what you are doing right now and I want to make a record of it, I want to paint that,'” Griesedieck explained.
The mural can be seen from three different points: the ground level, a mid-level view and a balcony view.
“I want you to be able to get up on that upper level and look straight across it. At times you can almost make eye contact with anyone in the mural,” Griesedieck said.
Over 15,000 children participated in the project, some helping to paint it, including students from Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York.
“My idea was, 'let's just experiment and see if kids can work with me,' as long as they are following a basic idea and we can really get them involved in the actual creation of the mural,” Griesedieck said.
The mural is just the beginning for the American Mural Project. The facility will become a hub where children can come year-round to participate in the workshops.
“I want every kid in the northeast who can get here either for a summer program or a school field trip to be here and I don't want them to leave without creating something,” Griesedieck explained.
The American Mural Project will be open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in person.
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