Sky-High Talent

A painted mural featuring a different notable local Lucy will soon be on display at the Lucile M. Wright Air Museum.

The museum has partnered with Alex Connor, a Jamestown Community College art student, for the creation of a mural depicting the history of flight, which will end up adorning the walls of the museum upon its completion.

According to Edward Martiny, museum curator, the museum staff had been thinking of ways to spruce up the empty space on the walls directly underneath the ceiling in the building occupied by the museum – which sits at the intersection of Third and Main Street. Martiny said he had reached out to Richard Rupprecht, museum board member and director of aviation at Jamestown Community College, in order to find a JCC student who would be interested in undertaking the mural project.

Rupprecht then contacted JCC’s art professor and coordinator Yu Kanazawa, who brought the proposal to students in his drawing class. Connor expressed interest in the project, and met with Martiny for the first time during the Doors Open Jamestown event in January.

“We were meant for each other, and it just happened,” Martiny said.

In conducting her own research on the history of flight, Connor selected significant people and events that were crucial to the progression of flight from fantasy to reality. After her initial meeting with Martiny, Connor has since drawn up a prototype for reference, which depicts the evolution of flight over the past several centuries.

According to Connor’s prototype, the mural will contain depictions of: a bird, as the original inspiration for human flight; Leonardo DaVinci, with one of his conceptual drawings for a flying machine; the first hot-air balloon flight in 1783; the first parachute jump from a hot-air balloon in 1797; the first steam-powered hot-air dirigible in 1852; the first successful glider flight in 1891; the Wright Brothers in 1903; Charles Lindbergh’s first transatlantic flight; the invention of the jet engine in 1930; Amelia Earhart, as the first female to perform a transatlantic flight; Lucile M. Wright; an X-15 Wing, which Connor said is the fastest and highest flying jet in history; and the International Space Station.

Connor is creating the mural using acrylic paints on 10 separate 40-inch by 96-inch panels of medium-density fiberboard. Martiny said four panels will be mounted on the wall adjacent to Third Street, while the six remaining panels will be affixed to the wall adjacent to Main Street. Connor officially began the painting process Tuesday evening.

“I’d like to have it done by the end of the semester, and I think I can do it,” Connor said, though she will be submitting the panels for museum display individually as they are completed. “If it’s not done by then, I will continue the project into the summer.”

“We’ll hang (the panels) up as she gets them to us,” Martiny said. “As soon as she finishes one, up it will go. We want everybody to come and see her artwork. She’s putting us on the map.”

In addition to the satisfaction of creating lasting artwork for prominent display in her hometown, Connor said she will also be receiving honors credit through the project.

“Every honors student has to fulfill a field work requirement, so we decided we could design this mural to fulfill that,” Connor said. “Without this, I wouldn’t be able to graduate with honors this semester. So it’s a good deal for me, too.”

Connor will graduate from JCC in May. She is currently working at JCC’s Weeks Gallery, and will be interning at the Chautauqua Institution art gallery over the summer. She anticipates transferring to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to begin classes in the fall.