On Saturday, October 28th at 2 p.m. the Hillsdale Economic Development Committee celebrated the completion of a mural project located in the heart of the hamlet on the east wall of the Hillsdale Supermarket at 2628 NY- RT 23.
The hand-painted mural was created as a town beautification project that also helps residents and visitors find their way around the historic hamlet. This “way-finding” mural was designed and painted by illustrator and letterpress artist Jane Buck of Hudson Valley Letterpress located in Hillsdale, NY, and was funded primarily from local donations in addition to funding allocated to Hillsdale’s Economic Development Committee projects by the town.
The mural transforms a previously blank stuccoed wall facing the historic hamlet center, known as Cullen Park which features the county’s only Civil War Memorial, erected in 1913. The eye-catching mural will give residents, visitors, and car passengers on NY RT 23 an authentic sense of place. Depicted is a way-finding map of the hamlet featuring notable buildings and landmarks that will help folks find their way to the Harlem Valley Rail Trail and other attractions in and around the Hillsdale business district.
This project has been in the works for more than two years and painting began this summer. To the left of the mural is an information kiosk that provides an up-to-date listing of businesses in the hamlet, plus a QR Code for a historic walking tour for those who want to explore and learn a bit about Hillsdale’s historic architecture and local history.
“It was an honor to be a part of making this mural a reality,” said Matthew White a member of the Hillsdale Economic Development Committee and proprietor of the HGS stores. “Not only does it beautifully capture Hillsdale’s historic hamlet, it also encourages exploration, something that both locals and visitors alike can enjoy and celebrate.”
About the muralist and illustrator Jane Buck:
British Illustrator Jane Buck, has built a reputation over the years from her whimsical line of paper goods, organic screen-printed textiles, and pattern designs for licensing. She established Foxy & Winston in 2005 in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and in 2018 relocated to Hillsdale, NY, and opened Hudson Valley Letterpress in the hamlet of Hillsdale, NY where she continues to create bespoke designs for weddings, birth announcements, personal or business stationery and more. All work is hand printed in-house using 1890’s and 1920’s Chandler & Price Treadle printing presses.
Jane Buck was asked to create a wayfinding map with a focus on the varied architectural landmarks of Hillsdale, an existing strength in her illustrative style. The decision on which buildings were chosen was based on how many she could fit in each area, and whether they were visually different architectural styles. Almost all are historic. She decided to give the mural a vintage postcard, a slightly folky feel with colors carefully selected to work well against the color of the exterior of the Hillsdale Supermarket.
Jane used Golden Artists Mural Acrylic which is vivid and durable pigments. All the colors were mixed by hand and Jane’s unerring eye. Once finished the mural will be sealed for protection. The weather this summer has been the biggest challenge, some days her work got washed away in a late afternoon storm before it was dry, forcing it to be repainted the following day. Juggling her full-time job as a stationery designer and printer in between painting when weather permitted extended the project. Jane explained, “The scaffolding I found scary at first, way up high with little to hold onto while dodging overly friendly wasps. That took a bit of getting used to!”. The rough texture of the painting surface also presented challenges for coverage and detail. Jane had to adjust her usual level of perfectionism to work with this surface while still expressing her crisp and unique illustrative style.
Jane began her printing career as a screen printer, but the more requests she received for finer detailed work (like wedding invitations) led her to learn letterpress printing, and once she moved to Hillsdale and found the right studio (with strong, concrete floors) she was able to finally purchase the antique presses that she works with now. It has gradually influenced her style.
About Independent Grocer Chuck Weldon and the Hillsdale Supermarket:
Hillsdale Supermarket owned by Chuck Weldon provided the perfect position for a town mural. Chuck shared, “We have had the store for 41 years. We bought it on November 2nd, 1982 and it burned to the ground on December 5th, 1982 after owning it for only 33 days. I thought about moving back to Connecticut where I am from, however, Ed Herrington, of Ed Herrington Inc., came to see me and told me he felt the town needed a grocery store and what could he do to help make that happen. So with his assistance along with other customers’ help, we were able to rebuild.”
“I had never met Ed or any of the people who helped us as we had been in town for such a short time. We would be forever grateful and opened a new store in March 1983. The store we have now we opened in 1997 so the community support has always been tremendous here. The hamlet has grown through the years and we have a nice core of old and new businesses in town and of course, more people are here since 2020.” adds Mr. Weldon.
“Being a small-town, independent supermarket we can really take care of what customers want and need. If we don’t have something in stock, please just let us know we will do everything we can to accommodate.”
“Matthew White came to us in the spring of 2022 about how the Economic Development Committee was interested in a mural on our building. Laurie and I thought it was a great idea and would be a good chance for us to repaint the outside of the store. Matthew assisted with new signage and building colors, and now with the mural finished we hope it will become a highlight of the town, hopefully attracting more people to take in our very special hamlet.” comments supermarket owner Chuck Weldon.
“I salute and congratulate the Town’s Economic Development Committee, the generosity of Hillsdale Supermarket owners Chuck Weldon and Laurie Laverack, artist Jane Buck, and project contributors for the creation of this wonderful wayfinding mural that both welcomes visitors to our historic Town and orients them to our many local businesses,” says Hillsdale Town Supervisor Chris Kersten.
About The Historical Walking Tour:
Founded in 1788, Hillsdale has many historic buildings filled with over two centuries of stories for visitors and residents to explore. The Hamlet of Hillsdale is designated as a National Historic District. A QR code will be located in an information kiosk next to the mural that will provide visitors access to an online walking tour that will start in Cullen Park directly across the street from the mural and follow a counterclockwise path from the Mount Washington House across NY State Route 23, down to the former New York Central Train station site, back up Anthony Street, west on Cold Water Street, returning east on NY State Route 23.
The website for the walking tour was created by The Hillsdale Economic Development Committee member Tod Wolfarth and the informative copy was written by the official Hillsdale Historians Lauren Letellier and Chris Atkins.
About The Hillsdale Economic Development Development Committee:
The Hillsdale Economic Development Committee serves the Town Board and works to promote sustainable economic development by prioritizing and implementing the goals of the Hillsdale Hamlet Comprehensive Plan in concert with the Hillsdale Branding and Marketing Plan.
Economic Development Committee Members: Tom Carty (Chair), Howard Van Lenten, Dana Bowen, Joanna Virello, Tod Wohlfarth and Matthew White.
For additional information about the mural and images please contact:
Joanna Virello by email at firstname.lastname@example.org