BY SARAH GREGORY
Downtown visitors now have a new sight to enjoy, with the placement of a vibrant poster-like painting on an exterior wall of the old Greeneville Opera House building, at the corner of North Irish and West Depot Streets.
The location is just across Irish Street from the James H. Quillen United States Courthouse.
The hand-painted mural by local artist Sam Lane, styled as an old-time Opera House poster for Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, was placed Friday morning for the public's enjoyment.
Lane also hand-lettered a sign outlining a brief history of the Opera House building, which is commonly referred to as "The Wall," as part of the project.
The sign has been on the wall of the Opera House building previously, but was showing significant signs of wear before Lane re-lettered it.
A plaque from the Greene County Heritage Trust was also placed, designating the site as a Greene County landmark.
The building's owner, Greeneville businessman and philanthropist Scott M. Niswonger, provided funding for the mural.
Key players in the Windows To The Past project, working in cooperation with the Greene County Heritage Trust, gathered Friday morning to view the artwork in place.
Andrea "Andy" Daniels, Becky Yonz, Carla Bewley, Lane, artist Joe Kilday, Greene County Heritage Trust President George Blanks, and Bob Cantler of the Morgan Inn Corporation -- on behalf of Niswonger, who was unable to attend -- spent several minutes viewing and appreciating the artwork.
The group said they wished to extend special thanks to Jeff and Mike Idell of Idell Construction for mounting the signs.
Others involved with the Windows To The Past project who were unable to attend include Linnie Greene, Christine Huss, and Sherry Hensley.
THIRD MURAL COMPLETED
The Buffalo Bill mural is the third piece to be completed in the Windows To The Past project, which is designed to help people visualize different aspects of Greeneville's history.
The former Opera House on whose wall the Buffalo Bill poster is mounted has been touted as a place once visited by the famous plainsman, U.S. Army scout, and Wild West showman: William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody.
Lane's artwork depicts a stylized poster for Cody's Wild West Show, showing "Buffalo Bill" with a distinctive hat, vest, bandana, and rifle, preparing to quick-draw his revolver.
Two other murals have been completed by local artists Joe Kilday and Mike Durham.
One of the murals commemorates the significant local impact of the former Austin Tobacco Company by depicting a view through a window showing a mountain ridge in the distance, with a tobacco field, barn, and hanging tobacco leaves in the foreground and middle distance.
That mural has been painted on the west-facing wall of Main Street Place, located at the corner of Main and Summer streets.
The same building, which hosted meetings of a local Masonic Lodge for many years, also features another mural, this one depicting President Andrew Johnson -- in Masonic attire-- looking around the corner.
UNVEILING FESTIVAL SOON
Although the murals are already in place and available for the public's enjoyment, an official unveiling will be conducted during a special event scheduled for Saturday, June 8.
The Windows To The Past Unveiling Festival will take place on W. Depot Street, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine, a spokesman has said.
It will feature tents selling antiques, food, music, entertainment, and children's art and activities.
There will also be special guest appearances from individuals portraying Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley, a crack shot either in place or on horseback who became the star of Cody's show.
More details about the festival will be announced later.
Tent spaces for the festival are still available at $25 each. Those interested in being vendors at the street festival should contact Andy Daniels at 639-2626.
Festival benefactors include the Austin family, the Dorothy Greene Trust, and Niswonger.
During June, the Greeneville Arts Council will host paintings by Lil Austin Clinard and her husband, John Clinard, both former residents of Greeneville who now live in Knoxville.
The exhibit will be on display at the Mason House Gallery in the General Morgan Inn.
In connection with the Windows To The Past project, a meet-the-artists reception will be held at the gallery on Friday, June 7, from 5 to 7 p.m.