Mural celebrates village's past, present

Vicky Klukkert | The Daily StarAngel Garcia, left, and Nadia Westcott put finishing touches on a mural celebrating Cooperstown in Pioneer Park on Thursday, July 1.

COOPERSTOWN — A new mural at Pioneer Park celebrates the history and culture of Cooperstown and pays homage to muralist Keith Haring.

The Fenimore Art Museum has an exhibit of Haring’s works, and the museum curators decided that a mural about Cooperstown should be painted to coincide with that exhibit, according to Todd Kenyon, director of marketing and communications at the museum.

“Keith Haring’s mission was to get art out into the public,” Kenyon said. “We wanted to get art into the public as a complement to our exhibit. This mural will celebrate Cooperstown.”

Kenyon said museum staff looked online to find muralists with a style similar to Haring’s and found Brooklyn-based artist Angel Garcia.

“We knew what we wanted,” Kenyon said. “We wanted someone who would focus on the community and we found Angel.”

The museum contacted Garcia and he said he spent three weeks coming up with the design that celebrates Cooperstown.

“I got the initial prompt to blend the history and culture of Cooperstown and do it in the Keith Haring style. From there I started to research the history, area and characters and what should be included in the mural. It includes Otsego Lake and different bits of history.”

The left side of the mural celebrates Native Americans and the founders of Cooperstown. There is a longhouse where the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois, lived; a Hiawatha belt and corn; squash and beans representing the “three sisters.” There is also a banner coming out of a book with portraits of Joseph Brant, William Cooper, James Fenimore Cooper and Susan Fenimore Cooper.

In the middle of the mural sits Otsego Lake with Hyde Hall and Glimmerglass Festival on the left, music notes throughout the lake, Council Rock near the shore, Kingfisher Tower on the right and a clock with multiple hands above it.

“The hands on the clock represent the past and now, and it is an iconic Keith Haring figure,” Garcia said. “I am inspired by his work.”

Haring’s portrait is at the end of a comet on the right-hand side of the mural. Also in the comet are portraits of young people to represent diversity. The Baseball Hall of Fame, Doubleday Field, Fenimore Art Museum and the Farmers’ Museum are also painted on the right-hand side of the mural. Next to the comet is a starburst with a bat and lacrosse stick.

Garcia said he is a muralist like Haring because, “I have always been interested in making artwork that is accessible to the public.”

Garcia said he creates public murals about social justice issues and working outside on big walls allows him to create artwork focused on those themes.

The mural will be on display in the village through October and will then be moved to the Fenimore Art Museum. The “Keith Haring: Radiant Vision” exhibit will be on display at the museum at 5798 Route 80 through Sept. 6.

Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at vklukkert@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221.

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