Mural planned for downtown building


Artist Alexa Daluz will paint a mural on the brick wall at 138 E. Chicago Blvd. near the corner of South Pearl Street. Photo by Jim Lincoln.

A plain brick wall at the west side entrance to downtown Tecumseh will soon be getting some color in the form of a mural depicting some of the best things about the city, thanks to the owners of the building, a committee from Community Arts of Tecumseh (CAT), and some generous donors.

“We had a group of people that got together a little less than a year ago talking about that corner,” said Mary Beth Cunningham, who has owned the building at 138 W. Chicago Blvd. for 20 years with her husband, Tom, who retired from his vision care practice last August. The building is now home to Clarkson Eye Care.

The vacant land on the corner of Chicago Boulevard and South Pearl Street just west of the brick wall is owned by Ken and Heather Heers of Lenawee Fuels, and in recent years has seen a lot of activity during city-sponsored events. The mural committee would like to see that corner become a more attractive entrance to the city and a place for people to enjoy.

Martha Melcher has been involved with CAT for many years, and although the group left its building on North Evans Street a few years ago, its members still meet occasionally. She was on the committee along with retired Tecumseh High School art teacher Christine Obeid, artist Cindy Lyons, Heather Heers, and Cunningham.

“We’re trying to work with Ken Heers to create a park there,” said Melcher. “Community Arts of Tecumseh has some funding and we’ve wanted to do a sculpture in that space and create a park. This kind of morphed into a mural, and Mary Beth and Tom offered their building.”

Alexa Daluz, an artist from Manchester who creates wall paintings, murals, and live wedding paintings, was contracted to design and paint the mural on the 12-foot-tall by 90-foot-wide wall. She worked with the committee, using their suggestions for items to be featured in the mural. Daluz plans to begin the process in mid-April, depending on the weather, and she expects to have it completed by Memorial Day. The main goal is to have it done by the Tecumseh Bicentennial in July.

The colorful design features some Tecumseh landmarks such as the historical museum and the depot, as well as other amenities the city has to offer.

“Each person in the committee gave her impressions of Tecumseh,” said Cunningham. “Based on that, she created the prototype for the wall.” The design went through a process of being changed and then approved by various people including those in the building services department of the City of Tecumseh, the Downtown Development Authority, and the city’s historical preservation commission.

“We’re excited about it,” said Melcher, who said she and Obeid have traveled and seen sculptures and murals representing various cities and wanted to have something like that in Tecumseh. “So it’s a nice entrance to the downtown area, welcoming, and kind of a good place for people to congregate,” she said. “We’d like to have a fire pit there, and we’d like to have a sculpture. That was our original goal, that Community Arts of Tecumseh wanted to donate a sculpture.”

She said the community will be able to watch the progress on the mural once work has begun. “We hope people will stop and look, bring a chair and sit down,” she said.

Along the way the mural has received financial support, with donations of $3,000 from the city’s Downtown Development Authority, $2,000 from CAT, $500 each from Cunningham and Heers, and a recent anonymous donation of $5,000 through the Lenawee Community Foundation. The total cost of materials and the artist’s fee is $10,000.

Melcher said the group will continue to raise money for lighting to be installed above the mural, so it can be seen at night.

Daluz assigned the copyright for the design to Cunningham, and then Cunningham gave it to CAT to use for items such as t-shirts, mugs, and anything else they might come up with for fundraising projects.

Funds for the mural project are being administered through CAT’s fund at the Lenawee Community Foundation. Those interested in contributing to the project and to future additions may donate by writing a tax-deductible check to the Lenawee Community Foundation, designated to the Community Arts of Tecumseh Foundation mural project fund.

“I think it’s going to really be a topic of conversation, and I love that,” said Cunningham. “It’s going to be fantastic.”


Tecumseh Herald


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Tecumseh, MI 49286

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