22 years in the making: World’s largest indoor collaborative mural set to open in CT
Artist Ellen Griesedieck is just days away from the public debut of her big idea—a massive mural more than two decades in the making. The enormous artwork, which stands five stories tall and 120 feet, is a collage of paintings showing Americans at work. It's a salute to the different industries and professions that have shaped our country through the years—firefighters, police, truck drivers, sailors, surgeons, teachers, construction workers, metalworkers, farmers, aerospace workers, and more.
“When it’s finished, anyone who comes in here should find themselves in it,” Griesedieck said as she gave News 12 a preview of the exhibit in Winsted.
The idea began 22 years ago with a vision to showcase and celebrate workers on the job.
“I thought, ‘We’ve got to create something so big you can't miss it, and I've got to take all the working places I've been and put them into one giant painting.’ That's the birth of the American Mural Project,” explained Griesedieck.
She spent the next several years traveling the country, getting to know each person she then painted.
“You shouldn't look at any of these people, and say, ‘Well, I get it. It's a cliché of a fisherman.’ No, that's Manly Dowdy, and I've been out on that boat, and so I know exactly what he does every day.”
Griesedieck also collaborated with kids in every state on parts of the mural. That included students at McKinley Elementary School in Fairfield. They’re painted with art teacher Kathy Reddy in the middle of it.
The piece is three dimensional and unlike a lot of traditional art, you can look and touch.
“I love the idea that you can reach all these people. You can get very close up,” Griesedieck. “You want to be as intimate as you can with this thing.”
The artwork is so large there are three different levels to view it from. She also installed a catwalk platform that winds around the mural and even behind it so you can experience it from different views.
“It's not painted on a wall. So, you've got all different kinds of materials. You've got ceramic and clay, blown glass, fiberglass,” she explained.
The mural is installed inside an old mill downtown that's been renovated.
“It had to be an old mill. We have to save our old mills. This is the history of our country,” Griesedieck told News 12.
And this mill is now housing the history of our country, as well. The American Mural Project aims to educate but also excite.
“You want to be able to inspire people with this, especially kids,” she said.
AMP is located at 90 Whiting St. in Winsted, Friday-Sunday starting June 18 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 12-5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and veterans and $5 for students. Children ages four and younger can get in for free. There’s also a $25 unlimited pass for use during open hours in 2022. Tickets and passes can be purchased here or in person.