Saturday, May 25, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
A large mural by prolific Dallas artist Kev Kohler is currently taking shape on the Polk County Museum facing Highway 99W in Rickreall.
March 19, 2013
RICKREALL -- The Polk County Museum in Rickreall now features a new display of sorts -- and it's getting a lot of attention.
A large-scale black and white mural depicting a wagon train scene now graces the exterior of the building.
C.F. Stevens, president of the Polk County Historical Society, said the museum is pleased with Dallas artist Kev Kohler's accuracy and realism.
"That's about what it would have looked like on the Oregon Trail," Stevens said.
Kohler said he is relying partly on old photos and partly on his imagination to create the 80-foot-long-by-13-foot-tall mural.
"I do research off of antique photographs and use a lot of photographs from (historical) re-creators to get details, like on the horses' harness and wagon details," he said. "I just make up the characters."
Kohler has painted many a historical scene in locations around the Willamette Valley -- 41 to be exact, including the museum's work-in-progress. Two of those are featured in downtown Dallas on the south side of The Majestic, a mural of President James Polk and Vice President George Dallas, and another on the side of Ugo's Pizza, displaying early downtown Dallas and the fire that destroyed it.
Stevens said when the historical society decided it wanted a mural to adorn the outside of the museum, Kohler was the natural choice. The historical society approached him last summer to design and paint the wagon train scene.
Kohler started working March 1 and, thanks to some unseasonably nice weather, he has been able to work quickly. He estimates he probably has another month before the mural will be complete.
Being highly visible from Highway 99W, it seems to be getting the reaction the historical society was planning on.
"Every once in a while you see people slowing down on the highway to look at it," Stevens said. "They never did that before."