Centennial Mural Restoration Completed
Restoration work on Neosho’s eighty three year old “Centennial Mural” has been completed according to Neosho Arts Council, who sponsored the work. The mural was transported to Kansas City and received over $15,000 worth of work which included repairs, cleaning, and sealing.
The mural was painted in 1939 by Duard Marshall to celebrate Newton County’s centennial and displayed in the city’s auditorium for almost seventy years. During that time a portion of the mural was cut out to allow for the installation of an air vent. The cut out section was retained with the mural when it was relocated to the Neosho Newton County Library in 2008.
“We were fortunate that the cut out section of the mural was saved,” said Sarah Serio, president of the Neosho Arts Council. “That portion was structurally re-attached during the restoration process. This means viewers will now be able to see the mural as it was intended by the artist for the first time in decades.”
The surface of the painting was also darkened and yellowed after being exposed to cigarette smoke and airborne grim. The surface was hand cleaned by a professional restoration team to remove the particulates, restoring the paintings colors to their original vibrancy.
“The wood of the stretcher bars, which the canvas is wrapped around, were starting to bow in some areas after holding the weight of the canvas for over eighty years,” Serio explained. They were repaired and metal braces were added to ensure structural stability. Marshall painted the mural across three, ten foot long and seven foot tall, canvases.
The final step in the restoration process included coating the mural with a UV sealant to protect it from light damage and prevent fading.
Neosho Arts Council will officially welcome the mural back to town with a public reception on Tuesday, November 29 at 6:00pm inside the Neosho Newton County Library.
“We are excited for everyone to see this mural now that it’s been restored,” Serio said. “The work wouldn’t have been possible without the finical support of businesses and individuals in our community.”
The group is working to finish raising the funds needed to complete restoration of two more murals in town. You can learn more about the Mural Restoration Project by visiting neoshoarts.net and following @NeoshoArts on Facebook and Instagram.