Artist Invites Residents To Help Paint Mural in Wheeling

Photo by Alex Meyer Sherrie Mestrovic, owner of Art by Sherrie, stands by her in-the-works mural that was chosen to be installed at Kossuth Park to greet drivers entering Wheeling. Residents can help her paint the mural at an event Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

While artist Sherrie Mestrovic often paints on items like turkey feathers, the surface of her newest painting takes up an entire wall of her shop in Elm Grove.

Mestrovic, owner of Art by Sherrie, was chosen by a Wheeling Heritage contest to paint a mural at Kossuth Park that will greet drivers as they enter Wheeling. On Saturday, she’ll invite residents into her shop to help her work on the project.

“It’s a big undertaking. It’s massive,” her husband, Al Mestrovic, said.

In January, Wheeling Heritage held online voting for a mural contest, where residents could choose between several mural concepts celebrating the city. After 3,400 people cast votes, Mestrovic’s mural won.

At an event Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the shop, 2194 National Rd., residents can stop by to add paint strokes of their own to the mural. Sherrie Mestrovic has already begun planning out and painting the mural, putting 66 hours of work into the project thus far.

Once painted, the mural will be added to a freestanding structure at the park, located at the base of the I-70 east exit ramp onto Main Street. Mrs. Mestrovic thanked all those who voted for her mural design.

“All the congratulating comments are truly are truly inspirational,” she said. “Since I started painting the mural in my shop I’ve had more people walk in off the street.”

The mural is modeled after a classic postcard design featuring Wheeling landmarks such as the Capitol Theater, Centre Market and the Mail Pouch Tobacco building inside letters spelling Wheeling. A painting of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge will go on the bottom of the mural.

“The suspension bridge, that’s Wheeling,” she said. “I thought about putting it on a letter and I thought, wouldn’t that look better on the bottom?”

The couple drove around the city taking photos of the landmarks to use as a reference for the paintings, Al Mestrovic added.

At Art by Sherrie, classes are offered for adults and children alike, including a regular “Paint and Sip” class. The shop also serves as a venue for birthday parties, where kids can paint, eat cake and ice cream and take something home that they made, she said.

For Sherrie Mestrovic, a graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, art is something she’s done her whole life. The couple often travels around the country showcasing her paintings at craft shows.

“I’ve always done art,” she said. “I wanted to have children and paint. That’s all I wanted to do.”

Mr. Mestrovic also spoke to how important art is to his wife.

“I was a coal miner for years, and I’d leave for work at 1:30 p.m., get home at 3 a.m. and she’s still back there painting,” he said. “I’ve caught her sleeping with the paintbrush in her hand.”

At the event Saturday, those who attend will help Sherrie paint base colors for the mural. How many people attend will determine how much work people will be given, Sherrie Mestrovic added.

“I’m excited about it. Very excited,” she said.

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