Bricks were scattered across the ground Saturday, remnants of a mural on a building that is being demolished to make way for a new downtown library.
David Pavlak, the original artist of the piece that was painted in 2017 for Elyria’s bicentennial, picked out parts of the sky that fell, along with other painted bricks, for a fundraiser for the Elyria Arts Council.
The train mural was partially torn down last week as workers made way for the new Central Branch, whose lot will include the space where the crumbling building stood at 322 Broad St.
Pavlak pulled out any painted bricks as he sorted through the mound of rubble.
Any that contained identifiable parts of the mural — the sky, the flowerboxes and the faces and smiles from the people standing in the windows or sitting in the train — were separated into piles.
Pavlak came across a brick with black paint, which he said was part of the locomotive.
“Somewhere in the pile is a brick with my name on it,” he said, “It’s probably at the very bottom. It’ll be a miracle if we find it.”
Pavlak wrote his name on the top left corner of the mural, which was the first part to be torn down. It seems unlikely that he’ll find it.
A part of the wall still is standing; Pavlak pointed out two children who remained intact. They are based on real people, Pavlak said, and the father had asked him if he could paint them a little older next time, to represent what they look like now.
“Sure,” Pavlak shrugged. “Why not?”
Pavlak isn’t too sentimental about the demolition. He plans to paint it again, and said this time he can make it a little better. He said he’ll include more people, and he’s kept all the original impressions of the people he used.
Megan Rowe, one of the main detail painters of the mural, also helped pick out bricks and take them to be stored inside the Elyria Arts Council building until the
May 25 fundraiser. Amid the rubble, she spotted some bricks with geraniums painted on them. She lit up with a smile. She said she had painted those flowers and now she can take the memory home.
Rowe said it was a chance of a lifetime to help paint the mural, and now she gets to do it again. She still was keeping an eye out for the checker pieces she had painted.
“It’s sad to see it go, but the overall progress of the city is great,” she said. “We’re optimistic. Plus, we get new neighbors.”
In place of the old building and several others that have been demolished nearby, Elyria Public Library System will build an estimated $8 million Central Branch. The Elyria Arts Council building, which features another mural, and the library will be separated by Pioneer Park. The city plans to work with the library to determine where and how to best re-create the train mural, which was paid for through donations from area businesses.
Elyria Arts Council will have a “buy a brick picnic” May 25 at 336 Broad St., and proceeds will benefit the arts council and its programs. The picnic will include children’s activities, and Pavlak said they’ll have children paint some of the bricks they collect.
The Elyria Arts Council asked permission to retrieve to the bricks, and were told they can get only the pieces that they can get to safely. Only whole bricks or larger segments of the wall that remained intact were being collected for the fundraiser. About 500 will be kept for the “buy a brick picnic.”
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