Local brewery Lot 50 has hired artist Bryan Hand to paint an inside mural as a tourist attraction.
“We’ve had visitors from 42 states,” says part-owner Bruce Young. “This is just another attraction that people will talk about. I think of this as a performance.”
Hand agrees and encourages people to visit Lot 50 and watch the progress. This project is somewhat unusual for him.
“I do murals every now and again, but I wouldn’t call myself a muralist,” said Hand. “I’m best known for the Red Bar in Santa Rosa [Florida], where I lived. I did a mural there, but also painted their front door and designed their T-shirts.”
Though he lives in Florida, Hand is a Paris native. He graduated from Paris High School, then went into the Army as a band member. He made frequent trips home and became a patron at Lot 50 while his late father, Chuck Hand, was coping with cancer. His father died in October.
“While he was sick, I’d come up here and hang out,” said Hand. “At the bar one day I was talking with Bruce and Doug [Smittkamp], and thought this would be a good place for a mural. I said ‘I’ve got an idea,’ and we just started talking about it.”
Young described the talking about the project as mostly Hand staring at the wall where the mural is being created.
“It’s nice having him here,” said Young. “His dad was thrilled to see we were opening a brewery downtown.”
Hand is excited to be painting the mural, but it’s a short-term job for him as he only has a two-week period of availability this summer to complete the project. The artist isn’t saying much regarding the mural except it is about Paris history, and he wants it to be surprising.
“Paris and the history of Paris is very important to us,” said Young. “We just picked up a Lincoln collage from Bryan’s dad. We have pictures of old Edgar county buildings on the wall, and the only Edgar county history book I know of.”
Lot 50 is gaining outside support to help with the project. The city of Paris provide money from the hotel/motel tax for advertising and private individuals have donated money to assist in creating the mural.
Young credited Orman Construction as a major supporter. The construction company provided scaffolding to give Hand a safe platform for working. The mural is going on a wall over an open stairwell.
Anyone interested in helping support the mural project can discuss it with Young by calling Church Insurance.
“For those who do support it, we’ll have a special evening with tastings and tour, but even if you don’t give any money, come in and watch,” said Young. “Really, what we’re trying to do is bring people in.”