Sections of Wall of Fame still available for sponsors

Monday, December 18, 2006

The River Heritage Mural Association is still looking for sponsors for sections of its "Missouri Wall of Fame" floodwall mural two months after the painting was completed.

When the mural was finished in October, about 60 percent of the $80,000 to $90,000 the association needed to pay for the project had been raised. As of Friday, the number had risen to about 65 percent, association president Tim Blattner said.

Sponsorships are still available for several sections on the mural, which features famous people who have ties to Missouri. The "Hollywood" panel featuring film stars, the mural's center panel, the likeness of J.C. Penney, the "Visionary Women" panel, the "Entrepreneurs" panel featuring people like Dale Carnegie and Joseph Pulitzer and the panel featuring famed writers like Langston Hughes, Tennessee Williams and T.S. Eliot are still available for sponsorship, Blattner said.

Despite the fact that the mural is finished and many sponsorships are still available, Blattner said he's not worried about the mural association's ability to raise the money. Blattner said two years passed from the beginning of the "Mississippi River Tales" mural project, which reached completion late last year, and the time when all the needed funds were raised for that project.

Much less time has passed since the "Missouri Wall of Fame" concept was unveiled in February.

"The sooner the better," Blattner said of raising the funds. "We have these special opportunities available. They're going, they may not be going fast, but they're going."

The "Missouri Wall of Fame" project was a touch-up on the original design created by Margaret Dement in the 1990s.

The red brick pavers that run in front of the "Mississippi River Tales" mural were recently extended to go in front of the "Missouri Wall of Fame" mural as well, and Blattner said interpretive reader boards like those in front of the older mural should be installed in front of the "Missouri Wall of Fame" by February or March. A late April or early May dedication ceremony is also being planned, he said.

"I'm confident we'll have the funding completed by springtime," Blattner said.

Chuck Martin, director of the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, said he's heard nothing but positive feedback about the revamped "Missouri Wall of Fame" since its completion.

"They took a very good concept and really elevated the appearance of it," Martin said. While the mural itself probably won't draw visitors to Cape Girardeau, he said it creates "added value" for those who do come to town. The new mural combined with the "Mississippi River Tales" mural and other improvements help to make downtown Cape Girardeau's atmosphere more inviting, he said.

Improvement projects throughout the city are all working toward making Cape Girardeau a better place for visitors, Martin said. Other improvements include the rehabilitation of the site of the old Mississippi River bridge and trail extensions of the La Croix and riverfront trails coming in 2007.

In Blattner's view, the improvements made downtown by the city government and the mural association have really spruced up the area south of Independence Street.

"You put all those faces up to put a fresh face on downtown," he said.

Those interested in sponsorship can call Blattner at (573) 587-2523 or Freck Shivelbine at 335-8862.

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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