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Library Mural Completed
C-T Brittany Tutt
November 5, 2015

Chillicothe's newest mural created by local artist, Kelly Poling, was completed on Tuesday, November 3, 2015. Poling began the mural at the end of September. The mural is located on the east side of the Strand Apartments bordering the library parking lot. This mural includes typical library scenes, such as shelving with Livingston County Library books on them (classic book titles, children's favorites, and some about Livingston County history); as well as a photograph of a girl reading at the library and a card catalog.

Photo / Brittany Tutt

Larger-than-life Library Mural Nears Completion
October 22, 2015
Catherine Stortz Ripley, CT

PHOTO: Catherine Stortz Ripley

CAPTION: Chillicothe artist Kelly Poling is more than halfway finished with the library mural, a piece of artwork that when finished will include between 120 and 150 books.

Looking for a good book? A great place to find suggestions is on the wall of a building near the Livingston County Library. There, in larger-than-life fashion, are literature classics such as "Ben Hur" and "Moby Dick," as well as historical reference books, including "Pioneer Families of Missouri" and a "History of the University of Missouri." Local history books can also be found on the wall - each complete with its own Dewey Decimal Classification on the spine identifying where it can be located inside the library. These books, and approximately 100 more, are part of a mural being painted on the east-facing wall of a building adjacent to the library parking lot. The artwork is the creation of Chillicothe muralist Kelly Poling. Poling is more than halfway finished with the mural and hopes to complete it by the end of next week, weather permitting. He estimates the wall to be between 80 and 100 feet long, with the tallest area extending 32 feet high. A portion of the wall is around 18 feet tall. The mural is sponsored by the Livingston County Library and includes the depiction of a three-tiered bookshelf that, when finished, will include between 120 and 150 books, along with pictures of a child reading at the library, an old book-mobile, a world globe and a card catalog. Reflective of the vast selection of books found in the library's collection, there also will be children's books painted on the wall, including favorites such as "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" and "Grimm's Fairy Tales."

PHOTO: Catherine Stortz Ripley

The mural also includes a subtle tribute to the late Lillian DesMarias, a former library director who left an $8 million gift to the Livingston County Library in Chillicothe, the place where she worked for 10 years. She died in 2012 and a portion of her gift is funding the mural project. Upon close inspection of three books painted near the globe, one can put together the wording of "Grundy" on one book spine, the word "Center" on the second book spine, and "Iowa" on the third book spine. Grundy Center, Iowa, was the place where she was born and raised and returned to later in life. Each of the three books also spells out a portion of her last name: "Des", "Mar", and "ias". The painting of a globe was chosen for the mural because DesMarias enjoyed traveling. Looking even closer, one can see a small dot on the globe representing Grundy Center, Iowa. Poling, who has painted about 20 outdoor murals in Chillicothe, said this mural has been fun to paint and has been well-received by the community. "I'm not three-fifths finished with it, and lots of people are saying it's their favorite one yet," Poling said. He said the mural resonates with people's joy of reading. This mural is one, he said, that is unique and filled with detail. "Every time someone comes back, they will find something new that they didn't see the first time," he said. The process of painting the books goes fairly quickly, Poling said, noting that adding the detail to the books and the names of the books is what takes the most time. Upon completion, Poling plans to take his work back to Tonganoxie, Kansas, where he recently completed a mural of books and will soon do a companion mural depicting pictures representing information of the books. And, if weather remains favorable, Poling plans to travel to Marshall and paint a mural giving tribute to Jim the Wonder Dog.

Poling Painting 20th Historical Chillicothe Mural
September 30, 2015

Local artist, Kelly Poling, has started working on the 20th historical mural in Chillicothe. This mural is being sponsored by the Livingston County Library and is located on the east side of the Strand Apartments building, bordering the library's parking lot. Poling started priming the mural on Thursday. According to Poling, it took 15 gallons of primer to cover the entire wall, which is 32 feet high by 95 feet long.

Monday afternoon, Poling was able to start painting the design of the mural, which consists of a three tiered bookshelf that features books written by local authors as well as books that feature historical aspects of Livingston County. Livingston County Library Director, Robin Westphal, said there will not only be books related to the history of Livingston County, but there will be elements in the mural that detail the library's history as well. "You'll be able to tell it was a library inspired design," Westphal said. Poling said the mural will feature some historical photographs tacked to the shelves, including a photo that features the library's old "Book Mobile," which was a van loaded with books that was driven around town, and the driver would pass out books to people (much like the idea of an ice cream truck except instead of ice cream, people were getting literature) in the 50's and 60's. Poling said the mural should take him about two to three weeks to complete and will take approximately 10 more gallons of paint.

C-T Photo / Brittany Tutt

CAPTION: Local artist, Kelly Poling, began work on the 20th historical mural in Chillicothe last week which is being sponsored by the Livingston County Library. Poling applied 15 gallons of primer Thursday to the 32 feet high by 95 feet long wall located on the east side of the Strand Apartments building (716 Clay Street), which borders the library parking lot.

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