Niles history mural coming to downtown parking lot

NILES – A new mural will soon change the scenery of the parking lot at the corner of N. Second and Sycamore streets in downtown Niles.

During Monday’s Niles City Council meeting, council member Jessica Nelson, who is the council liaison for the Niles Public Arts Commission, presented the idea of the mural and a motion to allow the painting to begin.

“[The Niles Public Arts Commission] met last week, and they are a very active bunch. Amongst other things, they are working on to get public art in Niles, they approved the painting and design of a mural,” Nelson said. “I know the artist is itching to get started.”

The mural was previously approved by both the NPAC and the Niles Downtown Development Authority, and needed final approval by the city council to have the artist begin.

The mural will be painted by Russell “Pain” Corrado, partner and owner of Order and Chaos Tattoo Emporium, 116 S. 11th St., Niles.

For Corrado, the process has been about a year in the works.

“[My family] saw some graffiti under the bridge [at the park]. I walk my kids down there. I used to spray paint and tag everything, illegally. I told [Lisa Croteau] I could paint over it,” Corrado said. “I sent her an outline drawing. She decided it was too nice to go under the bridge.”

Corrado will be using two different types of paint as he creates the artwork.

“Spray paint will get the shading and textures, and the hand-painting will be done to detail it,” he said.

For now, the painting will span the corrugated wall of the parking lot. Corrado said, for this piece, he will be painting the visible vertical portions of the wall. In the future, he may go back and add in the tops and bottoms of the corrugation, so when viewed at a different angle, a different image would be viewed.

The design includes Niles landmarks and history, including the water tower, the Niles city flag, and the Chapin Mansion.

“The artist has put some thought into building us something beautiful, because it’s not very beautiful down there,” Nelson said.

During the discussion of the mural’s design and approval, council member John DiCostanzo raised some concerns about the content of the mural. He wanted to ensure it was a “depiction of actual historical record of Niles, and not a revisionist historical rendering.”

Sanya Vitale, Niles community development director, said that was her understanding.

Corrado is donating his labor to the mural.

City Administrator Ric Huff said there may be some expense to the city’s general fund, if the impact fund will not cover the cost of supplies. He said there was a lot of labor involved, including scraping down the peeling paint, priming the wall and painting it.
“I think there’s a lot to be gained here by letting this happen,” Huff said.

The NPAC is appointed by the Niles City Council, and the latest work was approved by the commission.

After discussion, the mural was approved unanimously by the council.

Corrado said he is aiming to begin working on the mural on Monday, June 21.

 

Cass County

Van Buren/Cass District Health Department confirms COVID-19 associated death of a student in Van Buren County

Cass County

Cassopolis man gets probation for drunk driving

Cass County

South Bend man resentenced in 1997 Union murder case

Dowagiac

Army veteran talks his experience in Afghanistan

Business

Local farm markets ready for fall season

Business

Mason’s Pumpkins preparing for second-annual Harvest Festival

Dowagiac

DUS, teachers continue contract talks

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Area History Museum fundraiser raises $40,000

Giving

Wolverine Pipeline, area organizations partner to lend veteran a helping hand

Business

Cassopolis woman opens vintage, antique store downtown

Brandywine Education

Tickets on sale for Brandywine Hall of Fame induction ceremony

Education

New tech students race marbles to raise money for essential workers

Berrien County

MGCF awards $121,182 in grants to Berrien, Cass counties

Berrien County

Berrien County reports lower COVID-19 cases in schools following mask mandate

Berrien County

Berrien County amends transportation funding requests

Cassopolis

Dowagiac man found guilty of drunk driving

Cass County

Underground Railroad Society of Cass County wins Michigan Humanities Council 2021 Outstanding Humanities Organization Award

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: Sept. 17-22

Edwardsburg

Ontwa Township/Edwardsburg Police Log: Sept. 13-20

Business

Boutique yoga, wellness studio opens in Edwardsburg

Berrien County

Berrien County Health Department hosts educational event in recognition of Infant Mortality Awareness Month

Business

Apple Festival Grande Parade is back, looking for participants

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 995,910 cases, 20,700 deaths

Education

Parents protest masks at Niles Community Schools Board of Education meeting