By Darren Lum
Donations are pouring in for the two murals that will depict Haliburton’s only Olympian Lesley Tashlin and the community’s first pro football player, Taly Williams on the wall at A.J. LaRue Arena.
For the past few months, the Grade 7 and 8 French Immersion class at J. Douglas Hodgson Elementary School have been working to get Dysart et al to authorize the addition of the two athletes’ murals to join the other athletes such as Mike Bradley, Cody Hodgson, Bernie Nicholls and Ron Stackhouse on the wall of fame.
Teacher Marina Thomazo, who has been working on this effort with the JDHES class, is among a small group of adults that are taking the lead with a GoFundMe effort to raise part or all of the $30,000 estimated to complete the two murals, which will measure 12’ high and 18.5’ long and be applied to removable panels to ensure their longevity, if the arena is replaced in the near future.
“I think we raised about $7,000 in one week, so it’s pretty amazing,” she said, referencing what has been donated online and to the township. “We didn’t know at what pace the money will come in and we’re still waiting for the quotes from artists too. So, people are waiting to see how much the artists will cost. I never thought that we will get after one week $7,000, so it’s pretty cool.”
Donations can also be made to the township and a charitable donation receipt will be given for donations of more than $50. Send a cheque to Dysart et al, or make an e-transfer to the town. Send e-transfer funds to email@example.com. Telephone Cindy Watson at the municipal office at (705) 457-1740 ext. 630 for the password. Once an e-transfer is sent send a second email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, including street address plus P.O. Box, if applicable, to be able to receive a charitable donation receipt.
Thomazo said the Trillium Lakelands District School Board did not want to be involved with the fundraising, so the GoFundMe (at ca.gofundme.com/f/help-students-fund-murals-for-tashlin-williams) has been led by her and two other adults, but was launched by the Thomazo and her students in June, coinciding with the end of the school year. This Thursday the adult group will meet to discuss how to garner greater attention to their fundraising efforts.
The township is welcoming submissions from artists to provide a quote to complete the murals.
Part of the RFP process will include an evaluation made by a review sub-committee of the Cultural Resources Committee, which will be comprised of members of the CRC such as Jim Blake, representatives from the athletes’ family and community members with an arts background. HHSS department head Karen Gervais has submitted her name.
Artists can provide a proposal and quotation for one or both murals. The preferred timeline for completion is from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31. Deadline for submissions is Aug. 13 at 3 p.m. Thomazo’s hope is that the mural artist selected has experience and skills painting people of colour.
The $30,000 goal was based on the fact the previous murals cost approximately $10,000 each, and through research about similar work on this scale, Thomazo said.
“If we aim for $30,000, even if we don’t reach it then you’ll cover quite a lot,” she said.
Although the work isn’t over, Thomazo, like her students, are relieved it was able to get to this stage.
“I’m so happy it went through. We did not give up until we had both being able to get there,” she said.