Linden DDA Plans to Order Mural in Spring 2022 | News for Fenton, Linden, Holly MI

After months of discussions about bringing new artwork to the city, the Linden Downtown Development Authority (DDA) hopes to commission a new mural in the spring of 2022.

Since last summer, the DDA has been working on a new mural in the city.

“The board has been asked where everyone stands and the majority want to go ahead and start the mural in the spring,” said Jeanine Sapelak, president of the DDA.

The proposed new mural was created by two artists, Gregg Bugala from Fenton and Kevin Burdick from Scraps Designs in Flint. The render shows the old Union Block building in the background with a bird, a linden tree and flowers in the foreground in bright colors.

A few advisers commented on the large size of the flowers and the bird in the foreground. At a meeting in October, Michigan state biologist Councilor Pam Howd suggested using yellow flag flowers, which are native, and not tiger lilies, which are not.

The DDA discussed incorporating a blue heron and reducing it, while keeping the vibrant colors and the larger size scale shown in the first render.

They approved not to spend more than $ 15,000 on the project. The proposed mural costs approximately $ 13,500.

On Monday, October 25, Linden City Council voted 4-2 to approve the location of a new mural that will be the west-facing wall of Linden Town Hall. The board does not generally vote on DDA projects. However, they voted because it is a city owned building.

At the October meeting, City Manager Ellen Glass reaffirmed that there was no bad intention when the DDA decided to use City Hall for the new mural. The project would include painting over the old mural, which was done in 2014 by former Linden Community Schools art teacher Gemma Amendola as part of a community project with students from Linden.

The DDA is limited to what buildings they would be allowed to use due to guidelines for historic districts set by the State Historic Preservation Office, which include not allowing them on newly constructed buildings in a commission historic district or on old historic bricks.

Half a dozen citizens commented at the October meeting, and most were against the painting on the old mural. A few residents asked City Hall if council potentially considered selling the building in the future.

In the spring of 2019, a driver struck the east side of the building. Glass said they recently settled the repair claim through insurance and that they were on time for a contractor to come in and repair the damage.

The DDA also discussed setting a deadline for how long they will keep art in the city. Sapelak said they were also wondering if this was a project they wanted to use DDA funds on or if they wanted to pursue a different project. The majority wanted to go ahead with the project.

Aurora J. William