October 31, 2014

Elyria
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Art offers a sense of history


JASON MILLER / CHRONICLE
Local artist David Pavlak in his Elyria home, where he is working on completing a series of murals that will hang on the walls of the North Ridgeville branch library.

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Strategically placed inside David Pavlak’s art studio are huge paintings so real, you feel a part of them.

What started out as small black and white photographs depicting historical moments in North Ridgeville’s history are being reproduced into four, 6-foot-by-8-foot oil paintings to be hung at the North Ridgeville branch library.

Pavlak, 51, an artist and resident of Elyria, has been working on the paintings for several months. It takes about five weeks to complete one painting.

Pavlak, who has been an artist for nearly 40 years, has two paintings done with two to go. His goal is to have them all completed by mid-fall.

Before Pavlak picks up a paintbrush, he must sketch the image from the photograph to the canvas, making sure he has every detail correct.

“The most difficult aspect of the paintings are putting the pencil lines on the blank canvas,” Pavlak said standing next to his third painting, which details an old store called C.C. Benjamin Store. “Painting is not a problem. After the first dab of paint, it’s easy from there.”

According to branch library supervisor Karen Sigsworth, space was designated for the artwork when the library was built in 2003.

Two of the murals will be hung near the circulation desk, while the other two will be displayed over the adult information desk.

“Murals will be hung high, so the large murals will allow people to view them easily,” Sigsworth said.

Pavlak’s creations depict a simpler time in North Ridgeville, perhaps 100 or 150 years ago. The four scenes include an early store; a one-room school; a train station; and a barn, which represents the community’s farming heritage.

“Each mural represents a different season,” Sigsworth said.

Pavlak was contracted by the library for an estimated $20,000 for the art. Cost for the project includes art supplies, the painting, framing and installation by the artist, Sigsworth noted.

“This project is a nice partnership between the library and the community,” Sigsworth said.

Funds were provided through money set aside by the library as part of the building project, which is derived from the library’s building and repair fund. Additional funds were provided through individual donations and a donation from Friends of the North Ridgeville Library Inc.

“The idea to have historic murals was part of the original plan for the new library building” Sigsworth said. “We commissioned the artwork to be done and are pleased that this project will be completed so that we can include the dedication of this artwork as part of our five-year anniversary celebration in 2008 of the new branch library.”