The Interesting History Behind the Evansville Civic Center Mural
I was scrolling through my Facebook page
killing time being a productive employee (Whew! Dodged a bullet there), when I saw a post from Evansville Police Chief Billy Bolin that caught my eye. It was the photo above that drew me in first. A beautifully detailed mural of some of the more prominent landmarks in the city; the Old Courthouse downtown, Willard Library on First Avenue, the start of the Main Street Walkway, and more called The Treasures of Our Community are Among Us, by Eric Braysmith. But, it was the story Chief Bolin shared about the painting's origins that I found to be even more interesting. It turns out the Chief and this mural have a history with each other that dates back to before his time in law enforcement.
As he tells it, before becoming a police officer, the Chief worked in loss prevention at K-Mart on Morgan Avenue (now home to Rural King). Basically, he was a "secret shopper" who monitored customers to make sure no one tried to steal anything. This obviously meant he spent several hours a day wandering the store keeping one eye out for potential thieves, and the other looking at anything and everything. One of those things was this mural which at the time hung on the wall of the grocery section. Fast forward to today, and the two now see each other on a regular basis again as the painting now hangs on the wall of the third floor of the Civic Center outside the entrance to the City Council Chambers where Chief Bolin sees it every time he heads to the Mayor's office. He says each time he passes it, it reminds him of his days at the old K-Mart.
Chief Bolin didn't know how the mural made its way from K-Mart to the Civic Center when I asked him, but it's obvious based on his sharing the story on Facebook, he's glad to see it found a new home after the store closed.
I can't quite explain what fascinates me about this story. Maybe it's that when I look at the photo, I assumed the mural was painted for the purpose of hanging in the building that houses our local government, where decisions that impact the lives of those of us who live here are made every day, because that makes perfect sense. The fact it instead hung in a building where you could run in and by bananas and jeans was a curveball I wasn't expecting.
Maybe it's something a little deeper. There's certainly a "full circle" feeling to it, as one friend of the Chief put it in a comment on the photo. One part throwback to their humble beginnings, one part a reminder of how far they've come, a "look at us know, who would have thought?" moment, if you will. Whatever the reason, it's a cool story nonetheless.
[Source: Billy Bolin on Facebook]