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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Carrying On a Tradition

The organization Preservation Woodstock has a mission to preserve the past and, an equally important goal, to retain the traditions of our city. One favorite tradition of Preservation Woodstock is the annual Christmas parade with Santa in attendance. Another cherished custom is the yearly visit by Woodstock Elementary students to the oldest store in town--1906 Dean's Store--still intact, and now functioning as the Visitors Center.

Woodstock Christmas Parade

Preservation Woodstock member, Juanita Hughes, talks with school children visiting 1906 Dean's Store

Recently, Preservation Woodstock has re-engaged in another tradition--our city mural. Hopefully, you, too, will participate. Explanation regarding that will come later. The first such mural, highlighting Woodstock history, will pass away with road expansion. Exactly when isn't certain, however, Woodstock is already preparing. With the help of the Downtown Development Authority, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and Katie Coulborn, Long-range Planner for our city, we will have a new, outdoor painting installed because Woodstock isn't Woodstock without a beloved mural.
Katie Coulborn Long-range Planner for the city and Brian Stockton of DDA discussing plans for the new mural.
Some of the stakeholders at the initial committee meeting in November.
Christopher Brazelton, Melissa Casteel, and Jason Scheidt

How many times have you traveled in your car from somewhere and arrived in Woodstock, your home, tired and hungry-grumpy, and you were stopped near the mural? As you waited for the red light to change, did your sight drift to that colorful pictorial on the wall? Were you transported to the past by those old-timey scenes? I bet your fatigue and hunger faded. Perhaps, you wondered at the struggles and triumphs portrayed. Maybe the former townsfolk up there, painted from photos, left you inspired by their achievements. Could be, your imagination took over and you began to spin a little story in your head. . . . Oops!! Green light. Get your car moving.
On a recent rainy afternoon, stopped at the traffic light, drivers are captivated by our Woodstock tradition, a mural.

Now that our first mural is slated to be gone, what should happily fall into our lap, making a new mural possible? Funding, guidance and support, thanks to the Atlanta Regional Commission. The group sponsored a grant competition. . . . Can you believe it? Our city is one of only four winners, among many worthy entrants!

So what will the new mural be like? It will not be a copy of the current one, but a new rendition, something that speaks to us now. As Woodstock population grows, so does her vision and her future. Yes, because of you! And how relevant. The ARC theme for the mural is about the ample opportunities available for each of us to participate in our community and make history. . . . People are the greatest asset of any place. So be watching and listening. A public gathering is on the calendar for January 26, 2016. We want your input on this mural. Your opinions will be valued. Naturally. Woodstock citizen involvement is another great tradition worth keeping alive.
A blank canvas--the south wall of Woodstock Pharmacy and site of the new Woodstock mural.

Patti Brady is a member of Preservation Woodstock, and she is author of the contemporary, inspirational Woodstock novels:  The Heart of a Child and The Power of Her Smile