The West Shore Railroad will chug back into Clarence Hollow, on a mural planned for a highly visible blank space in the hamlet.
A black-and-white mural featuring a locomotive and passenger cars will be painted on an exterior wall of the Clarence Bowling Academy in the next few months, organizers of the project said. The idea is to liven up the hamlet with artwork while paying tribute to the railroad whose tracks once passed through that spot.
“We’re trying to enhance the Hollow and bring back the nostalgic look,” said John Leamer, a Clarence Hollow Farmers’ Market board member and treasurer.
The Farmers’ Market and the Clarence Bowling Academy are collaborating on the project. The Farmers’ Market is located across the street from the bowling alley; the Bowling Academy’s owners, James Gsell and Cindy Elbers, also own the land that the market uses.
The mural will be painted on a wall 16 feet high and 67 feet long, covered with white vinyl siding. Organizers hope the project will be completed in June, as the summer season begins at the Farmers’ Market.
The black-and-white image will give the mural “that historic look, that old-time look,” said Cheryl Anthony, the Farmers’ Market manager. The first West Shore train passed through Clarence in 1884 and the primarily passenger rail service ended in the 1950s, Leamer said. The mural will depict the train heading toward Main Street.
The artwork is part of an effort to revitalize the hamlet, Anthony said. “The Hollow used to be the hub of antiques, it was the antique capital. That’s all sort of gone away, so we’re trying to switch it over to more of an arts center. So this is certainly going to tie into all of that.”
The organizers chose local artist Jeff Perdziak to paint the mural. Perdziak, who works at New Buffalo Shirt Factory, created a “barnyard scene” mural at the Farmers’ Market, which was well received when it was unveiled last year.
Organizers estimate the railroad mural project will cost $10,000, and they will need to raise funds to pay for it. (More information will be available at www.clarencefarmersmarket.com.)
Perdziak said painting on vinyl siding will be a bit challenging, but he has done murals before on the sides of garages with similar attributes. He said he looks forward to creating a “piece of history” for Clarence, by celebrating the trains that once traveled through.
This is the second mural recently announced for Clarence Hollow, a hamlet centered on a two-mile stretch of Main Street.
The first one, a project of the Clarence Hollow Association, is planned for the side of the Hollow Bistro and Brew restaurant, about one-tenth of a mile away from the bowling alley. The design of that mural is still being finalized, said Jean O’Connell, the association’s president.
The cost of the bistro mural is estimated at $13,900. O’Connell has applied for a $3,000 matching grant from the We Live New York Livable Communities grant program, sponsored by the New York State Urban Council, and she expects to hear an answer by Jan. 25.