May 9, 2018
The Murals of Downtown St. Joseph
DEFINITION: Showing a particular feeling, thought, mood; conveying a story.
The drive throughout downtown has become more colorful in the last five years, thanks to the creation of larger than life murals that convey the unique spirit of St. Joseph. Beginning in 2013, seven murals have been painted on or in various downtown buildings showcasing St. Joseph’s uncommon, historic past.
With many of muralist Sam Welty’s paintings, he allows the public and even children to assist in their creation. The special thing about Welty is his versatility, or the ability to paint any image, as opposed to being tied to a certain genre. It’s also the feeling of being truly connected to a community that helps Welty dig deep and take real ownership of his creations, even though he may not be from the area.
“Before the first mural project even began, I was delighted and impressed with the city and, more so the people of St. Joseph. They were so welcoming and encouraging from the start. Sometimes this is not the case, but St. Joe has been wonderful to visit and learn to appreciate as a second hometown. I have made so many friends and learned so much about the area’s history that it is easy to feel like the more I visit, the more I belong. The people have such a commitment to their mutual history and heritage that, even when there may be disagreement, they are able to find the common ground of caring and community,” Welty said.
Sam Welty is of Virginia Beach, Virginia. He is well known on the East Coast for his many renderings and has painted numerous unique impressions.
“The murals that have come to life in St. Joe offer so much to the local landscape so anything specific is difficult to put into words. When I take a moment to recall the look of the downtown area only a few years ago, the drastic improvements are staggering! There have been so many people working so hard to bring new life to downtown, it never ceases to impress and amaze me. I am proud to have been a part of that incredible transformation!” Welty said.
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More than a decade of service later, the program continues to grow. Most of the kids who live in this St. Joseph neighborhood receive free or reduced priced breakfast and lunch during the school year, but have limited food resources in the summer.