“The two panels had cracks in them and kept giving us problems. Every year we had to repaint the areas around the cracks. We’ve all gotten tired of repainting the same areas over and over again,” said Robert Dafford, the artist who painted the Portsmouth floodwall murals. “So, we removed them completely to fix the cracks.”
The first coats of paint were applied to the surface last fall.
Dafford said they have the Branch Rickey mural about half finished.
“Next week we will start doing work on the Portsmouth Spartans panel,” Dafford said. “We are going to split into teams, so we can get done.”
Dafford said work on the Branch Rickey mural should wrap up in the next couple weeks. He said the recent heat wave has put a strain on the work and how much they can get done each day.
“We came up here suffering for a month of heat exhaustion in Mississippi where we were painting a civil rights mural there. We’ve never recovered from that. To top it all off, the place we are staying the air-conditioning is not working. We leave here (Front Street) where it’s 110 degrees and go inside where it’s only 80 degrees,” Dafford said.
Bob Morton said Portsmouth Murals Inc., is planning a rededication of the Branch Rickey Mural on Aug. 28.
“Aug. 28th is the day Branch Rickey signed the contract with Jackie Robinson,” Morton said. “We thought that would be a great day to rededicate the mural.”
The two murals were first painted in 1994, using a different primer that what’s currently suggested. The murals were taken down because the primer underneath was starting to fail and would have affected the murals.
Morton said Dafford is replacing the murals for $10,000 per mural.
“We made enough money from the baseball banquet to pay for
the restoration,” Morton said. “It looks like we are in good shape right now.”
WAYNE ALLEN may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 208, or email@example.com.