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2008 Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award Recipients

Public Education and Awareness Award to the Yellow Table Committee, U.S. Postal Service, and Parma Conservation for raising public awareness and appreciation of the 1943 Waverly Post Office mural by Roy Best, Arrival of the Packet "The Wave," and the process of conserving it.

This spring, a newly formed group of Pike County citizens calling themselves the Yellow Table Committee spearheaded a project that engaged the interest and pride of young and old alike. Working with Waverly postmaster Larry Ballew and Thomas Schick, facilities engineer for the U.S. Postal Service, the committee arranged for cleaning and conservation of the mural, Arrival of the Packet "The Wave," which is in the Waverly Post Office. The New Deal mural, painted by resident Roy Best in 1943, offers a lively record of yesteryear, when the Ohio & Erie Canal was a principal means of transport through Waverly. Through the generosity of the Postal Service, which is celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the New Deal, Elizabeth Kendall and Peter Schoenmann of Parma Conservation erected scaffolding in the post office and worked inch by inch to remove the yellowing, hard varnish, then restore the mural’s original vibrancy. Onlookers were awed as gray skies became blue again and a tired gown was restored to its original delicate yellow. The Yellow Table Committee describes its purpose as “citizens working together to enrich life in Pike County for today and for generations to come.” In the mural project they especially sought to engage the interest of school children. Packets of information on the mural, the artist, and the New Deal were delivered to art and history teachers throughout the county, and Waverly High School students prepared a DVD that was shown on local cable channels. Middle School Assistant Principal Willie Hobbs brought a dozen energetic art students to observe the conservation process and ask questions of the conservators. In addition, a letter drafted by the committee was sent to 200 community leaders; restaurants put “Catch The Wave” on their signs; and the local press carried stories. The project could well be a model for other communities. Seeing the restoration in progress can teach valuable concepts about art conservation, New Deal art, the importance of art in general, and about our responsibility to care for art. And there are many more cities in Ohio with New Deal murals that could be restored.

2008 Awards 
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