The Ladies Beautification League (LBL) of Hillsdale, MI, will hold its second mural- painting project this Friday and Saturday. The mural, entitled “Return to Splendor,” will cover the concessions stand in the Field of Dreams.
“The goal is to bring art to Hillsdale while building com- munity pride in a historical context,” said LBL founding member Laura Smith.
The original LBL mural, painted last year, is located on the rear wall of the Hillsdale County Community Foundation building. The new project, in the same fashion as the old, will al- low people to buy tickets to paint small sections of the mural.
Last year around 250 people signed up to paint the mural. This year, over 500 people will have the opportunity to partici- pate.
“We have one-year-olds, 85-year-olds, and everyone in between painting,” founding member Allison Hutchinson said.
The mural is 600 square feet and will cover three walls of the concession stand. The first wall will feature a pennant that says “Field of Dreams,” the name of the park. The second wall says “Play Ball” above a group of
baseball players and their coach. The final wall will feature a plaque commemorating donors and families as well as the hand- prints of all participants.
“We wanted the mural to be timeless,” Smith said.
The artist, Mary Thiefles, also created the LBL’s original mural. She has won Ann Arbor’s Golden Paintbrush award for her work in community art.
The LBL will also replace the “Field of Dreams” sign and install a flagpole.
The event will be held on Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will continue on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The conces- sions stand will be open and all proceeds will go to future LBL projects.
The LBL was founded in 2010, after the founders at- tended meetings for the Small Town Design Initiative, a project of Michigan State University graduate students. Beginning with three women, all wives of Hillsdale professors, the League has now grown to 13 members.
Originally the LBL intended to create a new mural in Hills- dale’s downtown. After strug- gling with “red tape,” the women decided to improve the baseball field instead, Smith said.
Next year will mark the 15 year anniversary of the Field of Dreams. Members of the town, who were dissatisfied with their children playing sports in an abandoned junkyard, created the
park in 1998. Today over 20,000 people
visit the park each year from the tri-state area. Year-around soc- cer, baseball, and football teams come to practice and play games.
“This location gives us the opportunity to reach even more people with art,” Hutchinson said.
Last year, the mural was painted before students came back to school in the fall. This year, the LBL hopes to incorpo- rate students into the project.
“It’s a great project for students to participate in the community,” Hutchinson said. “Students will paint right next to community members.”
Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, Omicron Kappa Delta Honorary, and Kappa Kappa Gamma So- rority have already volunteered to help this weekend. The LBL, however, would welcome the help of any more students.
“You can walk right down and pay $5 to paint,” Jarinda Springer, founding member, said.
The mural will be dedicated on Oct. 6. Dinner will be avail- able and the movie “Field of Dreams,” will be shown.
Although the LBL’s biggest projects have been murals, they hope to promote other types of art in Hillsdale.
“Our mission is not murals,” Smith said. “We want to enhance the downtown area. There are endless possibilities.”