By Tia Lynn Ivey
Anew patriotic mural entitled “The Wall of Honor” is brightening up downtown Rutledge. Several art students from University of Georgia spent all last week painting a large mural across Rutledge Family Dental’s building, paying homage to the service of veterans. The mural depicts veterans from every branch of the military, specifically honoring one local veteran. The sole woman appearing in the mural was modeled after Annie Lesinowski, who was a fighter pilot in World War II. Annie, now 95 and living in Martha’s Vineyard, is the mother of Mollie Lesinowski, one of the owners of The Caboose in Rutledge.
The Rutledge Garden Club raised money throughout the year to hire a team from UGA, directed by Professor Joseph Norman, to paint the mural. Dr. William Behrndt offered up his wall as the site of the mural and funded all the art supplies for the students. According to Cindy Ferguson, member of the Rutledge Garden Club, the project is part of a larger vision to make Rutledge known for its murals.
“We wanted to do something patriotic and honor all the services of the military. And we also want to do more murals in town in the future,” said Ferguson. “Rutledge’s motto is ‘small, but special,’ and this is just one more way we can make our town special. We hope these murals will draw more people to visit our town.”
The Garden Club and Dr. Berhndt are thrilled with the outcome of the mural.
“It’s just awesome,” said Brandy Clanton, office manager for Rutledge Family Dental. “It’s very beautiful and Dr. William is very pleased with it.”
“This is just a beautiful piece of art,” said Ferguson. “It made that wall come to life.”
Every year the garden club raises money to help improve the look of downtown Rutledge. “We love our city and want to keep making it better and better,” said Ferguson. Ferguson noted The Garden Club’s president, Pam Stapp, for her role in the project.
“She has really been on this and did a lot of the leg work,” said Ferguson. “She has been wonderful and is doing a great job for our town.”
Ferguson was happy for the experience the project gave to the UGA students as well.
“It was a really good opportunity for them,” said Ferguson. “Now, they will get to include this mural in their portfolios.”
The Garden Club paid for the students to stay in a cabin at Hard Labor Creek and picked up their tab at The Caboose and Yesterday’s Café.
“We wanted this to be a great time for them,” said Ferguson. “We hope to become known for our murals and inspire other small towns to do murals of their own, too.”