Library Mural Fundraiser Nears Goal

More than $7,000 has been raised toward saving one of the murals at the James Prendergast Library.

A fund has been established to collect tax-deductible donations to save the artwork painted in the 1960s by the late David L. Lawrence. People can visit www.prendergastlibrary.org, look to the right side of the screen and click on ”mural removal fund.” Those interested in contributing to the fundraising effort can make a donation either in person, through Paypal or by check. Indicate on your payment form that you want the funds to go toward the mural removal fund. The library is located at 509 Cherry St., Jamestown, NY 14701. Alternately, people can also make a donation through Crowdrise at crowdrise.com/savethemural.

Charlie Lawrence, David’s son, said he feels the goal of $8,000 to $9,000 will be met in order to save the mural. Tina Scott, James Prendergast Library director, said the most up-to-date fundraising figure for the mural is $7,597. Lawrence said the Intermuseum Conservation Association of Cleveland, Ohio, the preservationists who can save the artwork, have been scheduled to remove the mural during the first part of June.

“I want to thank the people of Chautauqua County. Quite a few of them have stepped up to make contributions,” he said. “I thank everyone who has been involved. A lot of people from both the Jamestown area and outside the area have been instrumental, and I appreciate how the community rose up for this project. I think it says something about how important art is in people’s lives.”

In the summer of 2012, Prendergast Library officials prepared a successful application through the Public Library Construction Grant program of the New York State Library for funding to install handicapped accessible/family restrooms and renovate upstairs storage space for future programming. Phase 1 of the construction project is scheduled to start in June. One wall mural is adhered to the wall of a storage area that will be converted into public space during Phase 1.

Even though there are two Lawrence murals at the library, only one is in a section that will be renovated this year. The mural is located at the front of the library, along a sidewall to the right of the entrance area if you are walking into the library. The other mural is located to the left in the children’s room. The children’s room mural also needs to be removed, but construction will not be done to that section of the library this year.

Once the one mural is saved, Lawrence said the next question will be where to reinstall the artwork. He said his family has made it known they would like the mural to be relocated somewhere at the library. However, library officials haven’t committed to that request. Lawrence did say officials at Infinity Visual & Performing Arts have indicated they would be interested in the artwork if it cannot be reinstalled at the library.