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It’s back

Downtown fish mural reinstalled

News Photo by Darby Hinkley Artist Tony Hendrick on Tuesday stands in front of the mural in the pocket park on Chisholm Street. He is putting the finishing touches on the mural today. The mural features huge Styrofoam fish that hundreds of members of the community have painted at events held at Art in the Loft.

ALPENA — The mural is back up.

Tony Hendrick, lead artist on the “Make A Splash” mural project, was touching up and filling in parts of the mural on Tuesday before the clear coat is applied today. The colorful mural features 13 large fish of all shapes, and one smaller flat fish. The mural covers the northern exterior wall of The Local Basketcase.

He said the mural project is the brainchild of Karen Bennett.

“This is kind of a project that she was envisioning from the beginning,” Hendrick said.

The mural was originally installed in the summer of 2016, but it was severely damaged by winds in October 2017, causing it to crash down.

Those fish are here to stay this time.

“It’s a little bit of an engineering project,” Hendrick said. “Each of these fish have cargo strapping and they’re rated at, like, 2,000 pounds, that holds the whole thing, and those straps are tied to a Z-clip system … It’s a locking Z-clip made out of heavy-duty aluminum. And those get attached to stringers of two-by-fours that are spread across the studs that are on the wall, so it’s very secure.”

He said Joe Stepanski helped him hang many of the fish, which are very lightweight but awkward to install alone.

“He came out and helped me the whole day,” he said of the installation. “He was a great help.”

He said hundreds of community members of all ages participated in community fish painting workshops at Art in the Loft, where they were able to put their own creative talents to work on the fish. There were also school workshops and painting sessions for the Boys & Girls Club of Alpena and various community groups.

Hendrick said the community as a whole has really come together to see this project to fruition. In addition to the painting sessions, many people have donated to the project to help get the mural back up for the public to enjoy.

“The community is a huge part of this project, and I think it’s just the beginning of what Alpena has to offer with the arts around town,” Hendrick said.

Darby Hinkley can be reached at dhinkley@thealpenanews.com or 989-358-5691.