Artist Christopher Santer paints a new section of the flood mural |  News, Sports, Jobs

Artist Christopher Santer paints a new section of the flood mural | News, Sports, Jobs | Pro Club Bd




Artist Christopher Santer, originally from Parkersburg and now based in St. Paul, Minnesota, is working on a section of the flood mural just inside the Point Park gate on Tuesday. Santer worked on the new section of the mural, which depicts historical scenes from Parkersburg framed by a depiction of the railroad bridge that runs through downtown. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

PARKERSBURG – The next phase of the flood mural is underway.

Artist Christopher Santer, originally from Parkersburg and now based in St. Paul, Minnesota, has been working for the past few weeks on the next part of the project, which is underway on the wall just inside the Point Park gate.

“This is phase 2 of the project and is designed to showcase the historic panels and overall look.” Santer said. “Here at the entrance with its high visibility we have chosen a good starting point.”

The scenes depicted on this section of wall include a scene of Market Street being flooded in the 1913 flood and an aerial view of Blennerhassett Island.

“The only picture I wanted to paint first was Market Street during the flood.” Santer said. “This is the image I grew up with (refers to an old photo taken from the railway bridge downtown, which also showed lots of people in boats).

The two scenes depicted in the second phase of the Parkersburg Floodwall Mural Project are a scene of the 1913 downtown Parkersburg flood and a painting of an aerial view of Blennerhassett Island framed by a depiction of the railroad bridge crossing downtown Parkersburg leads. Artist Christopher Santer has been working on the next part of the project for the past few weeks. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”

For Blennerhassett Island, he wanted to get the overall shape of the island right, along with the hint of Parkersburg in the background where the Ohio River bends.

“We all know the shape of Blennerhassett and I thought that would be a nice contrast to the architecture (the flooded street scene)” Santer said.

The panel fades into an almost unfinished state that will continue next summer, he added.

Last year Santer, along with other local artists and students, designed a section on the wall depicting a colorful mountain landscape.

Artist Christopher Santer Tuesday works on a scene depicting the 1913 flood of downtown Parkersburg as part of the Parkersburg Floodwall Mural Project at Point Park. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

The plan is to work on sections of the wall over the next few summers and eventually connect to the mountain scenery, Santer said, adding the overall plan calls for 20 local historical scenes ranging from the Parkersburg sign on the wall to the mountain scene with the Appearance of the downtown railroad bridge to provide a frame for other images specific to Parkersburg history.

“(Where he starts with phase 2) I really wanted to make this look like how I imagined the bridge and the piers and how the sky is painted.” Santer said. “Part of the goal is to basically make the wall disappear.”

Santer said he’s always been fascinated by the railway bridge and he really tried to capture the sandstone’s 150+ years of weathering and how it’s potted, eroded and stained to recreate its details on the wall.

“It was really satisfying to really get that look of the stone,” Santer said. “(The bridge dates back to 1871) and that’s one of the reasons I ended up using it to organize the whole plan.

“If there’s anything that has been a defining element of Parkersburg for so long, it’s this bridge. This bridge is so defining for Parkersburg and it really made sense to showcase it here. It was fun painting all the rust and corrosion.”

He plans to complete his current work this week.

Santer said he has another artist lined up to do one of the future historical plaques. He wants to open other panels to other artists, but leave them in “an old postcard look.”

Future plans may include scenes from old downtown Parkersburg, the historic riverfront when Parkersburg was a major stop for paddle steamers running from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati, the historic Wood County Courthouse, and more. Ideas are still being tested and reviewed.

If fundraising goes the way he wants, Santer expects to have about twice as much space next summer. Currently, the project is funded by private donations, with the possibility of additional funds being added at a later date. The city has supported the preparation of the site for the current construction phase.

More information about the project is available online at parkersburgflood.org and on the Parkersburg Floodwall Mural Project Facebook page.

“There seems to be a lot of support from the public and the response has been overwhelmingly positive and exciting, both on social media and from the people who stop by.” Santer said. “It’s been a wonderful two summers to do this and hopefully a few more summers to come.”




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