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One Mural at a Time

(December 2010) posted on Thu Dec 02, 2010

Robert Dafford Murals’ floodwall murals capture Maysville, KY’s river history.


By Nancy Bottoms

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Handpainted murals combine fine-arts techniques, big-scale props and a lot of paint! I admire the mural artists who can depict an object, a scene or a moment in history for the world to see. From a distance, either by rushing in traffic on a suspension bridge, riding the “ducks” (hydro cars) on a Saturday afternoon in the Ohio River, or just leisurely driving through a scenic, quaint town like Maysville, KY, I’ve admired the floodwall murals I’ve encountered many times for the past 12 years I’ve lived in the Ohio Valley. Or, perhaps, I crossed their paths.
Historic murals bring the past to life. At times, they evoke pride and nostalgia within the local community; to others, they provide a window of information to tourists or newcomers. Regardless, they’ve always been integral to the city landscape.
In 1997, the Maysville-Mason County Floodwall Mural Committee hoped to lure a renowned artist to paint a dozen murals along the Ohio River and beautify the gray walls by illustrating and preserving some of the town’s early river history as a major passageway into the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
The committee commissioned Robert Dafford, of Robert Dafford Murals (Lafayette, LA), as the lead muralist who would produce nine of the 10 flood murals that now embellish the Maysville skyline. I was impressed by his down-to-earth persona and crisp recollection of the project that started more than a decade ago.


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