Residents of North Fork have grown accustomed to seeing Joan Constable’s beautiful community mural on the side of the North Fork Market. They have also grown used to seeing it defaced by vandals who seem to take great pleasure in spraying it with graffiti.
The mural, which was created leading up to the Logger’s Jamboree in 2008, was designed by local artist and art teacher Joan Constable, known also as Connie Carpenter or “Joan of Art”, and owner of the Burning Brush Art Studio in North Fork and Oakhurst. Many members of the community participated in the creation of the painting, which depicts the old mill and celebrates the logging industry, the economic foundation of the town of North Fork for many decades.
In the past year, the mural has been hit several times with spray-painted graffiti about 2 feet high and 8 feet long. The community is now taking steps to preserve the painting by providing funds to repair the damage and raising the money to purchase special anti-graffiti paint, so that if and when it is vandalized again, the clean-up will be simple.
On Monday, July 16th, Barbara Thormann, Sandy Chaille, and Joan Constable cleaned off the graffiti area and covered it with a thick coat of white primer. Then on Tuesday, Sandy painted over the graffiti on the PG&E box while Joan repainted the mural, matching the colors of the original painting.
If you didn’t know that this historical mural had been damaged, you could never tell by looking at it now. These ladies did a fantastic job repairing and restoring Joan’s original work.
This has truly been a community effort. The North Fork Community Development Council garnered the funds from various groups in town for the project, Oakhurst’s True Value Hardware gave Joan a discount for the paint, Joanne Freemire rounded up the supplies, and Sandy, Barbara and Joan got the work done.
A special thanks to Eddie Weiss, paint contractor from Fresno, who was completing a painting job with the North Fork Market at the same time, and volunteered to spray the clear coat protection.
The next step will be to purchase and apply the graffiti guard coating, which is very expensive. When this special paint is applied to the finished work, it coats the painting with an impervious layer so that if and when the mural is vandalized again, the damage can be removed with soap and water.
Those working to protect the mural are currently looking to find funding for the purchase of the graffiti guard paint.
“Your job, now, is to keep an eye out for our graffiti-perp and intervene before it happens a fourth time,” says Joan.