Homewood Retells Own History through Richard Haas Murals

April 25, 2013 4:34:57 AM PDT
In addition to a unique and quaint downtown area, Homewood now boasts the largest collection of Richard Haas murals anywhere in the world.

Haas, a world-renowned painter specializing in large, illusion murals, was first invited to Homewood in the early 1980's. Since that time, Hass has finished 11 murals and is scheduled to complete his final mural in spring 2013. Work on that mural begins on Monday, April 15 by the Thomas Melvin Painting Studio. In addition, a time-lapse video captures the magic of one of his recent murals begin created.

"Homewood has a special place in my 35 years of doing public work," said Haas. "This project has allowed me to expand my work in many ways. In Homewood, I was given the freedom to design and execute a new series of works that tells an even larger story, not only about Homewood's history but about the region in general. Homewood now has the largest concentration of my works in one area and I hope people will discover and enjoy these works for a long time to come."

In the downtown area, there are 9 original murals which capture the history of Homewood from the movie theater and 1950's dinner to paying homage to the prairie. The expanded murals continue down historic Dixie Highway including a mural on the history of the bicycle. That process was captured in a time-lapse video. Click here to view video and still photographs.

"Homewood is a great home for the arts," said Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld. "We sought Richard out specifically for his realistic style as well as his artistic and historic vision. Residents have given us very positive feedback about seeing the blank canvas of the side of a building become transformed into a work of art."

Originally from Wisconsin, Haas began large-scale outdoor murals in the 1970's in New York City. His murals can be seen in Boston, Chicago, Ft. Worth, Madison, Milwaukee, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland and St. Louis as well as a variety of smaller cities. Haas' work has received awards from the American Institute of Architects Medal of Honor, 1977, Guggenheim Fellowship l983, National Endowment of Arts award l987, Distinguished Alumnus Award University of Wisconsin-milwaukee 1991, Jimmy Ernst award, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York 2005.

In Homewood, as well as other locations, Haas works with Thomas Melvin Painting Studio. Haas provides a to-scale painting for Melvin to use and entrusts him with adding details as needed. Melvin has worked on all the murals in Homewood as well as provided touch ups through the years as needed.

"Homewood is to be commended in engaging such an important artist," Melvin said. "Richard Haas has taken a European tradition and translated it into an American expression given his own unique sensibility. He loves architecture and he brings a sense of humor and his own style to his work. I have enjoyed working in Homewood. Thanks to all the residents for the thumbs up and car honks of appreciation. I look forward to returning to Homewood to complete the mural in the spring."

Homewood has commissioned Haas to complete his final mural in Spring 2013. Work on that final mural will begin on Monday, April 15 by the Thomas Melvin Painting Studio. To view the video or obtain photos please click here.


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