“Woodstock on Film and on the Stage” is complete
After three months of painting, a mural highlighting Woodstock’s arts and entertainment heritage is complete.
“Woodstock on Film and on the Stage,” a 118-foot mural running along a pedway on Main Street, was officially unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 6. It features celebrated figures, real and imaginary, from Woodstock’s entertainment scene: Orson Welles, “Groundhog Day” characters, Chester Gould and more.
“With all the rain after the start [of painting], I never thought this day would come,” said Rockford artist Mark J. Adamany, who began painting the mural in late June and spent a total of 61 days working on the project. He said he used about two dozen gallons of paint to complete it.
Conceived by former City Councilman RB Thompson and designed by Woodstock graphic designer Michael Stanard of One Zero Charlie, the project was funded with private donations and a grant from the McHenry County Community Foundation.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Willis Johnson, president of Classic Cinemas. His company made a donation for the mural, which sits adjacent to Classic Cinemas Woodstock Theatre, 209 Main St. “It just improves it. It was unexpected, but RB had the idea and the wall was there.”
Dozens of people attended the ribbon-cutting, which was temporarily moved indoors due to rain. Eileen Schilling traveled from Rockford for the event. She knew Adamany as a boy, having been his Sunday school teacher.
“I could see the creativity in him in Sunday school class,” she said.
Terry Willcockson said about 100 people and businesses donated to the project, which also includes a sculpture garden. Willcockson was part of the committee that organized the effort, along with Sue Stelford, Tina Hill, John Puzzo and Stanard.
Thompson said he had long hoped for a mural to cover the once-blank exterior wall on Main Street, which is part of a privately owned building. The city of Woodstock owns the adjacent pedway.
“It just wouldn’t work as a nice introduction to Woodstock,” Thompson said. “… So I said, ‘That’s a mural waiting to happen.’”
When the project was brought to the City Council last year, city officials supported the concept but said it would need to be privately funded. Willcockson said donors contributed more than $70,000, and the city went on to pay for the installation of an archway at the Main Street entrance to the pedway.
While the mural is complete, the sculpture garden is still a work in progress. A 600-pound wooden carving of a groundhog, created by Marengo’s Michael Bihlmaier, already is on site, but a sculpture of famed director Orson Welles, who graduated from Woodstock’s former Todd School for Boys, has yet to be installed. The sculpture by Bobby Joe Scribner of Woodstock needs to be bronzed before it can be put on display. Organizers are hoping to raise another $6,000 to $8,000 to cover that expense.
Adamany told the crowd at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that he’s worked on many pieces in his career, but said, “None, not any, have had the impact that this one did.”