Portsmouth is known for its floodwall murals, the largest outdoor collection of art by any one artist in the world. The endeavor, managed by Portsmouth Murals, Inc. (PMI) is a laborious and expensive one, with not only expansion cost, but, also, maintenance, which comes in around $20,000 a year. The group, in effort to raise funding for the massive, public art collection, holds its Annual Portsmouth Murals Baseball Banquet, which happened recently with great success, chipping away at the cost needed to preserve the murals for another year.
This was the first Baseball Banquet since the pandemic and PMI went into it knowing the seriousness of the event, pushing to make it as successful as ever. Despite the break, and a major venue change, the group considers the 2023 dinner a success, in which they greeted 250 guests.
The repair costs are an important part of PMI’s operation, and this dinner is instrumental in those expenses.
“The cleaning and repair of the murals, all of them, comes from this dinner,” Warnock said. “It is a very important source of revenue. All of this work will range somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000.”
Warnock explained that the dinner doesn’t cut it alone, but it is a major aspect of their ability to preserve the artwork.
“We never raise enough money at one of the baseball banquets to cover a full year of maintenance, but it is a big part of our ability to do maintenance on a continuing basis,” Warnock said. “So, the banquet is extremely important to the committee when it comes to the maintenance.”
PMI was pleased to announce that Darrel Chaney, former Cincinnati Reds infielder, was to be the keynote speaker at the 17th annual banquet. Warnock had high praises for Chaney.
“The speaker, Darrel Chaney was great, maybe the best we’ve ever had. He was well received by the attendees. He was exceptional. His speech talked a lot about baseball, gave a little bit of motivational speaking, he touched on his religious upbringing and was just a very well-rounded speech that he gave and was particularly good with his question and answer after.”
Darrel Chaney spent sixteen years in professional baseball. He played in the major leagues for the Reds and Atlanta Braves. Chaney played in three World Series while with the Reds and was a member of the 1975 “Big Red Machine” World Champions. After his big league career, Darrel was a radio and television broadcaster with the Atlanta Braves. He enjoyed success as a commercial spokesman for numerous businesses. Chaney also serves as a consultant to the retail store construction industry. He has been married to his wife Cindy for 54 years and they reside in Hoschton. Georgia.
In 2012, Darrel retired from the business world to focus on a public speaking career. In addition, Chaney wrote a book about his life titled “Welcome to the Big Leagues…Everyman’s Journey to Significance, The Darrel Chaney Story.”
Portsmouth Murals, Inc. also recognized MLB umpire Greg Gibson, Baseball Wall Honoree, honoring him for his 25 years of service and the recent announcement of his retirement. Gibson began his MLB career in 1997, having worked in two Wild Card Games, ten Division Series, five National League Championship Series, the 2011 World Series and the 2008 All Star Game.
“Greg Gibson was there and made some comments,” Warnock said. “He was very appreciative and his father, Acy Gibson gave the provocation and it set the mood for how things were to go.”
The committee also came with a gift for Gibson.
“We printed a vinyl banner, 4-foot by 5-foot, of Gibson making a call on Jose Altuve in a very expression filled photo and we gave that to Greg to honor his retirement. It was really a neat piece and he was extremely appreciative,” Warnock said. “It was a beautiful banner and thought it would look good for the banquet, as well as a gift.”
The dinner was a first for Shawnee State University and the committee was pleased with how it went in a new space.
“This was our first time having the event since we moved to Shawnee State, but the meal was outstanding, the service by Aladdin was great. All in all, we liked the bigger room at SOMC, but the event being held at Shawnee State was extremely successful and we were pleased with how it went.
Warnock claimed the next banquet is tentatively planned for January 24, 2024 at Shawnee State.
Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved