From left, Denyse Couture, creative director for Clarkston Cultural Arts Council, Charles Garling, DIA director of studio programs, and artists Vito Valdez and Alex Gilford of Clarkston celebrate at the new Village of Clarkston mural. Photo by Phil Custodio
BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
The new mural on the south side of the Union Woodshop restaurant on Main Street is just the beginning, said Denyse Couture, creative director for Clarkston Cultural Arts Council.
“This isn’t a one shot,” Couture said at the Already Unveiled Mural Unveiling, Oct. 13. “We hope this is a springboard to other things in our community. We hope other businesses follow suit.”
The 12-by-16-foot mural, titled “The Village of Clarkston,” was designed by Alex Gilford of Independence Township, artist at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and created along with DIA artist Vito Valdez.
“They said, ‘you’re from Clarkston, right?’ That’s how I got the job,” Gilford said.
The design includes historic downtown buildings and landmarks, plants and animals of the millpond, and the Clarkston mill itself. Many ideas were provided by residents via a survey in The Clarkston News this past summer, he said.
“Curt Catallo and the Woodshop rolled out the red carpet for us,” Couture said. “They spoiled us. They set the bar really high for the next project.” Local artists helped Gilford and Valdez paint the mural, located on the southern wall of the Union Woodshop, 18 S. Main Street. The effort was a partnership between the Clarkston Cultural Arts Council and the DIA, supported by the institute’s tri-county millage with the help of local business owners, City Council, and Clarkston Community Historical Society.
“The project started from a conversation I had with Jillian Reese at DIA about a year ago, during the Inside-Out program,” Couture said. ” She came to me and said, ‘what’s your dream project you want help with from the community?'”
“We really appreciate this partnership,” said Charles Garling, DIA director of studio programs. “We’re very proud of it – this and other ones throughout Oakland County were able to happen because of your support.”