“Museums without walls”

Young Abraham Lincoln portrait to be displayed in Girard court

GIRARD — A local artist has placed several definition photo copies of paintings and portraits on the sides of city buildings, on storefront walls and now one at the Girard Municipal Court main building.

This weekend, Girard residents Jack Carlton, a Hiram College printmaker instructor, his wife, Paula Jasper, and Jason Vaughn of Struthers hung a 7- by 4-foot vinyl door-shaped picture of a young Abraham Lincoln reading a book in the second-floor lobby of the Girard Municipal Court.

“When you get off the elevator, it will be the first thing you see,” Carlton said.

Carlton said the image of Lincoln is a copy from the Butler Institute of American Art collection that was painted by Norman Rockwell.

A second image was from the Girard Historical Society collection depicting an old-style convertible limousine and chauffeur at the Mahoning Country Club. It was hung on the side of a brick newsstand building near St. Rose Catholic Church at the intersection of Main Street on U.S. Route 422.

In late 2016. Carlton was able to begin hanging seven murals in the city’s downtown including one on West Liberty Street: a 1933 Warner Bros. Theater program cover of a fish and mermaid by Carlton’s uncle Barney Carnes. Others include a Clyde Singer painting, “Minor League,” of a baseball player at bat; and a Max Mason painting,“Spring Training Fielder,” of a baseball player.

The effort, known as “Museums without Walls,” was started by Carlton first in downtown Youngstown.

“We started this back in the 1990s as a way to help revitalize downtown Youngstown. I had been living on the East Coast and came back here and saw what parts of Youngstown looked like, almost like a ghost town,” Carlton said.

Carlton, Jasper and Vaughn worked with the Mahoning Valley Historical Society and Butler Institute to revitalize downtown Youngstown by displaying historical photos.

He soon had images placed on sides of walls of businesses including “Snap the Whip.”

In 1996, he received a grant from the Ohio Arts Council and was able to get vinyl high-definition reproductions of well-known artists. One of them was a piece called “The Defeated Artist” by Clyde Singer.

Carlton said he and Louis Zona of the Butler Institute of American Art were looking at different paintings when they saw the one of Lincoln.

“He thought it would be nice for Youngstown and be placed near the new courthouse. That never happened, so I suggested when we had some grant money we put it up in Girard,” Carlton said.

In Girard, he is working with both the building owners and the Butler Art Institute.

“My efforts were to beautify this city. It is one way to help revitalize the city’s downtown,” he said.

Mayor James Melfi said he was planning to stop Sunday evening to see the Lincoln image, noting the different murals provide both a cultural and historical context.

“Mr. Carlton has been doing this for the city for over the past year bringing art and history back to the downtown area. We are very excited for what he has been able to do. We are showcasing … some of Girard’s local history,” Melfi said.