LORAIN — A new mural unveiled Saturday at Black River Landing is symbolic of Lorain’s struggles.
The theme of the mural is: After the Pain, the New Lorain. The eight-foot high, 20-foot long mural, depicts two Lorains.
On one side of the mural, in black and white, a blighted neighborhood is shown with a hurricane in the horizon and drug dealers and a homeless man on the sidewalk. On the other side, in color, the sun shines above people fixing a house while others march in the street carrying a banner with The New Lorain on it. Between the two neighborhoods, a broken bridge is being repaired.
The mural — which will be placed behind the Lorain Arts Council building at 737 Broadway pending zoning approval next month — was painted in about three weeks by artist Alexander Rivera of Grafton. Rivera was assisted by Lorain Schools students who devised the theme, provided sketches and did some of the painting.
“They have such energy,” Rivera said by phone after the ceremony. “It’s really a joy to see them reaching out and trying to look at life and seek help and allow themselves to hope for something better.”
The mural is part of a two-year effort by the council to promote the arts and downtown through murals. Antonio Barrios, council president, said council members wanted to get youths involved in the effort and valued their input.
“We came up with a design, and when they didn’t like it, we changed it, because this is their story,” he said. “It really tells a story about what they’re looking at and what they live.”
Among the students involved was 13-year-old Longfellow Middle School student Samantha McCall.
“All the painting was hard work, but it was really fun,” she said.
Mayor Chase Ritenauer said Lorain is at a crossroads and the bridge in the mural was a fitting depiction of which way the city needs to go. He urged the approximately 80 children and parents on hand for the unveiling to be role models and take collective responsibility for improving the city. “I know we can do it, but I need all your help,” Ritenauer said.
George Lambert, CEO and president of the Lorain County Urban League, echoed the theme of responsibility.
“Our children equal our destiny,” Lambert said. “You’re the folks who are taking us to a new Lorain. Never forget that.”
Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.