mlk pg 1 6-23-22

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Above: Emida Roller touching up the mural last week. The mural committee, from left: Delpha Very, Amanda Kelly, Jess Porzuczek, David Sullivan, Dot Burnworth, Emida Roller and Elaine Turner. Linda Lemmon photos.

Above: Dancers from the Complex Performing Arts Center. Below: The start of the dedication of the MLK mural.

By Linda Lemmon
Town Crier Editor
PUTNAM — Laced together with hope and quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. the MLK mural was dedicated June 20.
MLK in the mural, already secure in his home on the outside wall of the Hale YMCA, seemed to gaze down on the committee members, painters, officials and members of the public. More a year in the making the Dot Burnworth, chair of the committee, traced the steps it took. She thought fund-raising would be the toughest but bankHometown, Centreville Bank and the Jewett City Savings Bank stepped up. Then the Putnam Arts Council, the Artist Guild, Putnam Rotary Club, PSA, Weiss, Hale & Zahansky, Sawmill Pottery, the YMCA, Rise Up for Arts, the Newell D. Hale Foundation and the Town of Putnam helped. Then the community stepped up. “The support was overwhelming” she said. The entire $15,000 budget was funded within one month.
Emida Roller, who has done nine other murals in this Connecticut project, said a record 128 surveys of the northeast corner residents about what MLK meant here came in. “Usually I would get 30, maybe 40.”  Guided by the surveys, “Teach Peace” is the title of the mural created on 15 aluminum panels and it’s completely local from Prudence Crandall in 1833 through the Putnam Underground to modern times populated with local models and even local flowers.
Putnam Mayor Barney Seney said “This couldn’t be done without community support. This is a great day for Putnam.”
Amanda Kelly, executive director the Hale Y, said MLK’s message and the Y’s dovetail. “We welcome all.” Jim Zahansky, board chair of the Hale YMCA, said there is a clear synergy between us and RiseUP. Sierra Ings, a student at Quinebaug Valley Community College read her poem pressing linear over circles. She noted that a circle doesn’t have room to be anything else. Progress does go away “it gets run over.”


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