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Toledo grain silos will be transformed into a massive mural

The project will begin in June and is expected to be finished in August.
Published: Feb. 2, 2021 at 5:40 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Grain silos may not be the first place that comes to mind as a spot to create artwork, but that’s exactly what is about to happen in Toledo. 28 ADM silos along the Maumee River are about to become host to a mural. It’s called the Glass City River Wall.

“Sometimes I pinch myself that this is really happening,” says Nicole LeBoutillier, who was among a group of friends who rode past the silos on a boat back in 2019. It was then the idea for the project was born.

“What an opportunity to change your community for the better. This is life-changing for me,” says Christina Kasper, who has also been part of the project from the start.

The silos provide a 160-thousand square-foot blank canvas that tens of thousands will see on a daily basis.

“More than 82,000 vehicles pass there every day so we’re talking about 30 million views a year,” says Kasper.

Gabe Gault, a well-known California artist, is creating the mural. He’s working on his final version, but an early rendering included a field of sunflowers, blue skies, and a Native American woman representing the region’s first farmers.

“There will be little surprises sprinkled throughout to remind us what makes this space, and this community so special,” says Kasper.

So just how do you paint a mural on silos? The final design will be projected onto the silos, and crews will then use a Paint-By-Number technique. Work gets underway in June and the project is expected to be finished in August. But it’s about more than just art.

“We have included an education curriculum, there is also economic development with it,” says LeBoutillier. “It is so much bigger than a beautification project.”

The project has a price tag of about $750,000. About $500,000 has already been raised, and everyone has a chance to be part of reaching the goal.

“We want the community to be involved in this,” says LeBoutillier. “You can donate $1, $5, OR $5,000.”

“I think this will be a way for Toledo to be recognized the way she deserves. Period,” says Kasper.

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