Project to beautify empty downtown windows

| April 11, 2014

COSHOCTON – Frank Pettibone remembers when there was life in the Selby Building on Main Street.

“Back in the day it had the store JJ Newberry,” he said. “There was a lunch counter there, a pet store downstairs and a candy shop that had outrageously good cashews. As a kid I got to experience all that, but it’s been long gone.”

Pettibone is using some of his memories to help the Pomerene Center for the Arts with its Little Social Histories project.

The Pomerene Center recruited a team of community members that includes Pettibone, Lisa Jane Martin, Byron Brenneman, Jacqueline Roman, and Megan Tyhurst to work together to design a large public art piece that tells little social histories of downtown Coshocton in the context of the old and now vacant Selby Building, which is the 400 block of Main Street.

Tyhurst, a freshman at River View High School, is the youngest member of the group.

“I don’t really feel like I’m the youngest,” she said. “I’m included in the group. I think this project is really neat and I’m learning more about Coshocton’s history.”

Roman also is in high school and has enjoyed working with everyone on the team.

“I want to major in art (in college) and thought I should be doing more things to help me with that,” she said. “This project has been a lot of fun and it’s been nice working with people of all different ages and parts of the community. Their tips and opinions have helped me grow a lot. I really like all of them.”

The group also has learned a lot about comic making during sessions with cartoon/illustration artist Julian Dassai.

“He critics our art and gives us pointers about what to do,” Martin said. “I’ve been learning to see things in black and white because I’m usually a color person and like lots of vibrant colors.”

When the group’s work is done it will be combined with historic text, old photographs and images and will be enlarged to fill the building’s storefront windows.

“Anne (Cornell from the Pomerene Center) is trying to draw attention to downtown and hopefully we can get this town going again economically,” Pettibone said.

Intended installation in the windows is scheduled to coincide with the Dogwood Festival in May.

“There are unfortunately a lot of empty buildings downtown so hopefully this will draw attention to them and help beatify downtown,” Martin said.

The work is funded in part through a National Endowment for the Arts OurTown community development grant.

“Overall, I think it is a fun project that will benefit the community a lot and maybe show other people more about where they live,” Tyhurst said.

Brenneman, who graduated from Coshocton High School and currently attends Otterbein University, also hopes the project enlightens people.

“I remember my grandparents telling me stories about downtown and how vibrant it was,” he said. “When I was growing up it was like death valley. I like the topic of this project and think it’s a really cool way to teach younger people about what Coshocton used to have.”

Roman agreed with Brenneman.

“There is a lot of history in this town,” she said. “A lot of people always think nothing happens in Coshocton, but they don’t realize how much has gone through here and how bustling it use to be. Hopefully this project will help people take more pride in our community and make them start to think about what Coshocton used to be and what they can do to help brighten it up.”

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Category: Arts & Entertainment

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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