Edgeville Buzz

Initiative Behind Edgewater’s Famous Dolly Mural Hopes To Install One Of The Area’s Largest Works

As the mural of Dolly Parton stares sweetly from her home on a wall in front of the Lytle House at 5517 N Broadway, she sees the parking lot for St. Ita’s church and a bland two-story building which makes up the back half of two buildings belonging to St. Thomas of Canterbury School. Well just like Dolly’s Coat of Many Colors, that boring wall too could find new life that is made with much love.

The group behind the project, The Lytle House Art Initiative, began in late 2019 with one goal which is bringing as much art to the Edgewater area as they can. Besides the highly photographed Dolly portrait, they have also created several other public outdoor works which include a parade of kites, Charlie Chaplin, a resting dog, and Linus expressing positive words to Charlie Brown.

The initiative has plans to overhaul the school’s back wall which can be prominently seen from Broadway Ave. According to Michelle Lytle, one of the founders of the creative group, the mural would be one of Edgewater’s largest installations and will transform the entire block.

St. Ita’s pastor Father Bob Cook approached Lytle about the idea for the artwork. With St. Francis of Asisi being the church’s patron saint, Father Cook told them about a familiar song composed by him called The Canticle of the Sun.

Known for his protection of animals and a life of true poverty, St. Francis wrote the Canticle of the Sun in late 1224 while recovering from an illness. The song, which is also known as Laudes Creaturarum (Praise of the Creatures), thanks God for all that makes up our beautiful planet.

It was decided to use those references found in the lyrics as the concept for the mural which boldly depicts the sun, moon, wind, water, fire, and earth.

“Father Bob came to us about the idea and wanted to know if all this was possible,” said Lytle. “He told us about St. Francis’ song and I immediately had an idea when I read the lyrics. So I sat down and started drawing it out.”

Like most initiatives, this one was dependent on funds to get it off the ground. The wall in which the mural needs to be placed needs to be overhauled in order for the piece to last over time. In addition it will take two lifts, 70,000 gallons of paint and up to three painters over a four week period to complete.

The lifts and the paint have already been generously donated but money still needs to be raised to cover the labor. Lytle says that fundraising has been ongoing but much more is needed to reach there $12k goal.

“We have been working to get funds to the Lytle initiative so we can get the mural going but the pandemic disrupted our fundraising efforts,” Lytle added. “But we are once again trying to get the word out about getting donations for this project specifically.”

Once the money is raised, they would still need a good stretch of weather that is 50 degrees or higher. They hope to begin the mural by Spring, possibly this Fall.

A GoFundMe.com page has just gone up for the campaign. If you would like to contribute, Click Here.


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