Lighting, ‘War on Terror’ tribute planned for mural wall

By Jason Hawk -

Do you love those who serve our country? Let the light shine.

It will cost roughly $3,000 to illuminate the downtown Amherst murals that pay homage to America’s veterans.

“A lot of people bring friends and relatives over and they can’t make it during the day, but they’d like to see it,” said John Sekletar, who has worked through the years to bring the Park Avenue mural wall to life.

His son, Mike Sekletar, has created tributes to the Iwo Jima flag raising during World War II, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., and this year unveiled the latest in honor of those who served in Korea.

Now he plans to paint one more mural at the Amherst municipal lot — this time focusing on the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the global fight against terrorism. It would be completed in 2017.

The elder Sekletar said more than 100 people have approached him in the past 18 months asking about the possibility of lighting the mural site.

He believes lighting would provide the perfect backdrop for community events.

John Sekletar has also organized the city’s Veterans Day observation each Nov. 11 on Park Avenue for the past five years and plans to continue doing so. This year’s event drew 1,200 people, including 400 young Amherst students.

LED lighting is planned for the murals, pending approval by the Amherst design review board.

Sekletar said he expects the request to go before the board March 17.

To help cover the cost of installation, framed 16-by-20 photos and engraved pavers will be sold. Proceeds will also support the continuation of Veterans Day ceremonies.

For more information or to place an order, call Re:create Art Studio at 440-308-9537 or visit it at 223 South Main St., Amherst.

Teresa Gilles, director of Main Street Amherst, said she sees enhancement of the mural as a big positive.

“I think it would draw people downtown to see the murals during the evening, not just during the day. I think it’s a wonderful project,” she said. “We have a lot of great treasures here and the mural (wall) is one of them.”

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk