stunning murals in downtown area
(October 2006) The notice went out that the city was looking
for artists to create murals for the Madison Comfort Station and the
Senior Citizens Center, both of which are located along Main Street
in downtown Madison, Ind. Numerous sketches were submitted, but in the
end, well-known local artist Hal Davis and Madison Art Clubs Patty
Cooper Wells were chosen to do the work.
by Konnie McCollum
Hal Davis (top) and Patty Cooper
Wells (bottom) are shown with their
murals. Davis mural can be seen at the
Madison Senior Citizens Center, while Wells
mural is displayed at the Madison
Comfort Station, both on Main Street.
Davis, 60, has established a reputation as a premiere
local artist. His work can be seen in many fine homes throughout the
area and on display at Madisons Kings Daughters Hospital
& Health Services. He has also designed several posters for the
Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art.
Davis was chosen to paint the mural on the wall of the Senior Citizen
Center. Ironically, the sketch I submitted for the Comfort Station
was the sketch chosen for the seniors, said Davis. He was thrilled
to have his work selected from the many other candidates.
His mural, located on a side dining room wall in the back of the center,
is 36x7 feet in size. He said he had a lot of planning to do in the
beginning for such a large mural.
Davis described his work as a montage of scenes that would be very recognizable
to Madison residents, particularly older ones who have lived here for
some time. He said that over time, he has taken many pictures of the
more popular sights. He chose several images that he thought would work
One of the major elements he considered while planning the mural was
the contrast between light and dark. Most of his other artwork has that
play on the light-dark contrast as well.
The mural has various scenes that run together to create a stunning
panorama of Madison. From left to right, the mural begins with a depiction
of a firehouse, a horse-drawn carriage, the front door of the Judge
Jeremiah Sullivan museum house, the Broadway Fountain, the Lanier Mansion
State Historic Site, a paddleboat, St. Michaels the Archangel
Church, Hanging Rock Hill, and an iron fence with flowers and a scene
of magnolia blossoms. Davis is known for his beautiful renderings of
The amazing perspective makes viewers feel like they are actually part
of the ongoing scenes. One feels like a passerby who could actually
walk right through the door of the Sullivan House, or a driver just
about to turn the curve on Hanging Rock Hill.
Davis began the actual painting of the mural in April and completed
it in August. He worked numerous hours each weekday. During lunch break,
he said he dined with the seniors and had fun socializing with them.
It was great fun listening to their comments and suggestions about
my work and just talking with all of them, he said.
Madeline Gray, Senior and Nutritional Wellness Director at the center,
said, Everyone was just amazed at the process and the dedication
Davis put into his work. She noted that there will be an upcoming
open house at the Senior Citizens Center at some point in the near future,
and everyone will get a chance to check out the mural and what goes
on at the center, which is a program to help seniors stay active.
Wells, 35, said she was at the Madison Art Club when she saw a notice
looking for mural artists. She also submitted her sketches and was thrilled
to have been chosen to do the mural at the Comfort Station.
Wells is no stranger to mural work. She has done many throughout Madison,
including one at JoeyGs Restaurant and Nightclub.
When planning for her mural, Wells said she took into consideration
the comfort station is not only a restroom facility, but it welcomes
tourists and can almost be considered something of an introduction to
With that in mind, she centered her mural on prominent landmarks in
the area. Like Davis, she used some of the more popular sights; however,
that is where the similarity ends. Her mural is a stunning display of
not only famous landmarks, but it also celebrates the riverfront and
symbolizes the art and culture of the area.
Wells was originally supposed to do one long mural, but after visiting
the actual site for the project, she suggested that her work would be
better done in several parts due to the design of the building. And
unlike Davis, who actually painted his mural on the wall, Wells has
done her work on several wooden panels that will be hung along the Comfort
Station walls and enclosed in protective glass. There were concerns
about possible vandalism, explained Wells.
The large 12x6 feet wide panel features a river scene with a paddleboat
and tourists and has an amazing depiction of Madisons film history.
Portraits of film star Irene Dunne, originally from Madison, and Some
Came Running stars Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Shirley MacLain
adorn part of the panel. Musician Rusty Bladen, a current hometown favorite,
is also included in the mural.
There are many scenes throughout the panels that will be familiar to
tourists and residents, including the Lanier Mansion State Historic
Site, Clifty Falls, the Broadway Fountain and Little Jimmy, the statue
atop the downtown firehouse. Wells even added local artists, including
herself and local artist Lou Knoble into the scenes.
Visitors and residents alike will enjoy viewing the murals of both Davis
and Wells. Each mural is an amazing and truly incredible piece of artwork.
Back to October 2006