A mural celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Black Swamp Arts Festival will find its place on North Main Street.
The mural will be located between 149 North and Tubby’s Tavern, where Rail Billiards used to be, said Barbara Ruland, executive director for the Downtown Foundation and Downtown BG.
Eighteen seniors at Bowing Green High school designed and are painting a mural that captures different aspects of the community and festival, including the food and arts, said Nikki Myers, an art teacher at the school.
One unique feature of the painting is there will be 20 different salamanders, the festival mascot, hidden throughout the picture. The mural reflects the 20 years the festival has taken place.
Different aspects of the community have come together to help move the project along and make it possible, Ruland said.
The Downtown Foundation is funding the mural, a charity aimed at supporting capital improvements, maintenance and the beautification of downtown Bowling Green, Ruland said.
“We’re trying to contribute to the atmosphere, to make downtown a place where more people want to hang out,” she said.
Other community members who have helped out include Floyd Craft, owner of Ben Franklin Crafts, who donated paint and other supplies.
Craft said he and other members of the community have been thinking of improving the site “for ages.”
“We’re trying to make it look prettier than before,” Craft said. “It’s good of the community and the businesses to spruce up an empty building.”
Mike Marsh, a lawyer at Marsh & Marsh, also donated money to help the project.
“I walk by there a lot and thought it looked bad,” Marsh said. “Why not make it look better than just a bunch of boards?”
Ruland said Rail Billiards has served as “an ad hoc canvas for [Bowling Green] over the years.”
From 2005 to 2010 the building front has hosted various projects. However, they have been halted in recent years due to complications from the property owners and various acts of vandalism, Ruland said.
Regardless, Ruland said she remains optimistic.
“[Bowling Green has] lots of interest and support for the arts and for artists,” she said.
Myers also has high hopes for the project.
The project will be beneficial not just to the community but to some of those involved, she said.
“It’s a good way to give back and to help out,” she said. “It helps the students realize that they aren’t just a high school kid, but part of the community.”