Downtown delight

Saturday, August 14, 2004

At first, the idea of painting more murals on the floodwall in downtown Cape Girardeau did not meet with universal approval. But the River Heritage Mural Association and its persistent president, Tim Blattner, had faith in a project that is paying off with images that are delighting the community.

The people painting the Mississippi River Tales murals are artists who have become a familiar sight downtown. Often standing on scaffolding, they work from early morning until sundown. Their concentration on their work is intense, but they still are willing to discuss their work with passers-by.

Chicago artist Thomas Melvin created the mural images based on historical events and information supplied to him by the mural association. His associates include talented Chicago artists Cameron Pfiffner and Gary Borremans along with Melvin's 21-year-old daughter, May, and her boyfriend, Ian Caldwell. Local members of the crew are Craig Thomas, Megan Thrower and Amanda Thornberry.

The murals themselves are creating new interest in the downtown. People who haven't been downtown in years are going there not only to look at the progress of the murals but to enjoy the new river walk inside the floodwall.

Melvin expects to complete the 24 mural images this fall. Eventually they will be complemented by a new walkway with interpretive signs explaining the significance behind each scene.

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