Plans for a mural at the Haymaker Farmer's Market have deteriorated in the past year, but market organizers and the chosen artist remain optimistic.
Last year, the market received a grant from the Ohio Arts Council for about $900 to support installation of the mural. But the market had to have spent that grant and installed the mural by the end of this month.
Haymaker Farmer's Market Manager Kelly Ferry said they've been forced to forfeit the grant because they won't have the mural in place by the end of this month.
"We were still short anyway," Ferry said. She estimates they still need as much as $5,000 to $5,500 to install the mural.
A big obstacle has been finding someone to spearhead the project and solicit corporate sponsors. Most people who are interested in helping are market vendors and are too busy this time of year managing their crops.
But all hope is not lost.
"We’ve got about $1,000 in corporate sponsors so far," Ferry said.
And the artist selected for the mural, Kent Patch Art Words columnist Elaine Hullihen, is willing to revise the mural plans to include panels crediting and thanking the sponsors.
The Kent Jaycees and Kent Kiwanis have donated money toward the project. And several local businesses agreed to donate materials. Ferry is concerned though that the passage of time since those businesses agreed to donate paint and other materials has withered those agreements.
In an interview earlier this year, former market manager and founder Fritz Seefeldt talked about the difficulty in finishing the mural and conceded it might not come to fruition.
"It may not happen, yes. We’re going to do our best to make it happen," Seefeldt said.
Still, Ferry is optimistic. She said any interested, qualified community members who want to help with the project can.
"It would enhance that area of downtown and give the market that permanent feel even when it’s not open," she said. "I really want to see it happen. I think that will really add to that whole sense of place."