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Latest Mural Freshens Up Downtown Business Corridor
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This panoramic photo of the completed mural at East F and South Third in downtown Oakdale shows the scene and vibrant colors, the latest project coordinated through the OakdaleARTS organization. Photo Contributed

It took vision, planning, a lot of prep work, and then the actual hours spent in transforming the outside wall of a building into a vibrant mural, bringing some unique artwork to the downtown Oakdale area.

At the corner of East F Street and South Third Avenue, a girl reading a book, a butterfly, brilliantly colored flowers and more have emerged – the latest city beautification effort coordinated through the OakdaleARTS organization.

“There is an Art Panel, currently the three of us together as OakdaleARTS, appointed by the city to do a preliminary review of the wall location, design content, and the portfolio of the muralist,” explained OakdaleARTS member Nancy Podolsky of herself and fellow members Rhonda McDonald and Cheryl Dillwood. “Many artists can create on paper and small format. A muralist has to be able to upscale a design to a wall and keep the perspective and scale in proportion.”

Working on the mural project, which started in mid-January and continued over a couple of weekends, was Joel Aguilar, born and raised in Livingston.

“I’m more of an assistant to the project,” Aguilar said. “We’re working with OakdaleARTS and just trying to create a splash of color in the community … helping beautify the community.”

Podolsky added that the city has a mural policy (available on the city website) which basically states the city requires prior approval of a design painted within public view anywhere within the city. According to the policy, a building owner has to agree to a mural on their building and in some cases the building owner will incur an expense to have the wall prepped for painting.

“The mural has to then be presented to the Planning Commission at one of their monthly meetings for approval and then forwarded to the City Council for their approval,” noted Podolsky of the process.

Some unique features in the latest mural are making sure the young reader had a cowboy hat and boots and she is reading a book that is available at the Oakdale Library.

“The book we chose is ‘Skillet Bread, Sourdough, and Vinegar Pie - Cooking in the Pioneer Days’ by a local author, Loretta Frances Ichord,” Podolsky said.

The murals are also a costly endeavor, ranging anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 for a large wall, including the hiring of a muralist, a lift, materials, and more.

“Currently there is no funding source from the City of Oakdale or from the hotel tax,” added Podolsky, noting that several businesses and individuals have been key in keeping the projects moving forward.

“We were very fortunate to have Matt Budine of Progressive Dairy Solutions sponsor the first mural with several local businesses and private individuals sponsoring our second mural,” she said. “Thank you to the generous donors who helped make this mural possible: Richard Gilton, Gilton Solid Waste; Denise Cash, Century 21 MM; Susan Creedon, Creedon CPA; Nancy Parker, Farmers Insurance; Pam Thomas, Downtown Fitness; SONS Farm Fresh; Susan Byars; Mary Louise Kucker; Mickey Peabody; Melinda Owen; Janet Neal; and Mike and Sheryl Mack. Also a thank you to these businesses for their donations of services: Thomas Brothers Equipment Rentals from Tracy for the use of the scissors lift; building owner, Pam Thomas, for all she did to prepare the wall; Crown Painting for providing and painting the protective overcoating; and Feed & Seed for providing our model with the cute cowboy boots and hat.”

OakdaleARTS is currently working on three more murals and looking for sponsors, Podolsky said.

“We have partnered with Oakdale Women’s Club, a non-profit organization, to collect and distribute funds for mural projects.”

E-mail for more information about the mural projects. Donations can be sent to: Oakdale Women’s Club, PO Box 501, Oakdale, CA 95361 with OakdaleARTS in the memo line.

“A lot of people stopped by to see the mural being painted. Many have also been seen taking photos in front of the butterfly wings,” shared Podolsky. “We are encouraging people to post their photos on Facebook and Instagram enjoying the mural with #oakdalemurals.”