City Mural Must Come Down

Building Demolition To Start This Week

Posted: June 18, 2014

Trudy Cole, graphic design coordinator at James Madison University, painted the mural on the Community Development Building on South Main Street 11 years ago. The mural, called “Forever May She Wave,” will be torn down with the building as part of the construction of the new city hall. (Photos by Nikki Fox / DN-R)
Trudy Cole, who designed the mural on the Community Development Building for a July 4 celebration, says, “It hurts my heart a little bit. ... I am accepting the fate of the mural but would so welcome the opportunity to design and implement a new one.” The mural will be torn down as part of the construction of the new city hall.

HARRISONBURG — Part of Trudy Cole’s life is expected to come tumbling down this week, and she’s come to terms with it.

As part of the construction of a new city hall on South Main Street, Nielsen Builders must tear down the Community Development Building at 409 S. Main St. The first part of that process is scheduled to start one evening this week, removing the north-facing side of the structure — the one with a mural created by Cole.

The artwork, in the shape and colors of a waving American flag, has random slices of city and Rockingham County life: the downtown courthouse, bikers, a cross, city and county official seals, a tractor and more, plus snippets of Cole’s life, such as the house she lived in at the time of making it, about 11 years ago.

It’s titled “Forever May She Wave” and was commissioned by The Arts Council of the Valley for a July 4 celebration.

“The theme was celebrating our freedoms locally, regionally and nationally,” said Cole, the graphic design coordinator at James Madison University. “I see that whole mural as a snapshot of time. ... It was a snapshot of my life that I’ve really moved on from.”

She enjoyed playing a “Where’s Waldo?” type game with kids from the nearby Harrisonburg-Rockingham Day Care, seeing if they could spot a certain element of the mural.

On its destruction, Cole said: “It hurts my heart a little bit. ... I am accepting the fate of the mural but would so welcome the opportunity to design and implement a new one on the new building or elsewhere in town. Harrisonburg is blessed with such a gracious community. Designing a mural that I am able to create with them is truly an honor beyond words.”

While the new city hall’s limestone walls won’t be conducive to another exterior mural, architect John Mather is hopeful that plenty of artistic creativity will occur inside. An atrium that the Harrisonburg designer included in renderings should have a rotating display of framed art, sculptures and possibly hanging art, if not other ideas that haven’t been considered.

“I hope somebody surprises us and does some really interesting work that people will be drawn to,” Mather said.

Cole could easily be one of those people.

“My hope is to someday have such opportunities in the future,” she said. “We’ll see what the future holds.”

Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or pknight@dnronline.com



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