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Herndon Awaits Construction Of New Mural

New mural to depict animals in downtown Herndon.

A before and after image of the wall of Dominion Animal Hospital at 795 Station Street.

A before and after image of the wall of Dominion Animal Hospital at 795 Station Street. Image provided by Keith Naquin

While the region has been anticipating the incoming Silver Line, the Town of Herndon has taken steps to become an art friendly town. Some of these steps include the design of murals. The Council for the Arts of Herndon, the Town of Herndon’s officially designated local arts agency orchestrated the design of another mural in downtown Herndon. The next project will be one at the Dominion Animal Hospital at 795 Station Street.

The artist for this mural project will be Herndon resident Keith Naquin. Naquin retired from teaching art at Herndon High in 2011, where he taught for 32 years. "While I was teaching I was doing art stuff on the side, and I am at sort of at a juncture in doing art full time now that I have the time to do it," said Naquin.

Naquin painted two other outdoors murals within downtown Herndon. One mural is on a wall of the Ice House Café building, and was completed in the fall of 2012.

THE OTHER MURAL is at NAPA Auto Parts on Elden Street completed in the summer of 2011. Herndon resident Karen Shoemaker, a board member of the Council for the Arts of Herndon (CAF) had helped advocate the new mural.

"We had been working with Keith [Naquin] on the concept for the past several years and drew up some sketches," said Shoemaker. Shoemaker said the estimated costs of the mural are $20,000. Also CAF will take responsibility for the maintenance of the mural, and pay for resealing and all touchup work. "That is the relationship we have with the owner of the building," said Shoemaker.

Dominion Animal Hospital is a full-service veterinary medical facility. The location began operation in November 1967 when it was opened by Dr. Kermit O. Cockrell. The wall on which the mural will be painted on is very visible, and neighbors the Great Harvest Bread Company. But before work on the wall of the Dominion Animal Hospital begins, the wall will need to be covered in stucco. This stucco project will be handled by Best Bid Inc. of Chantilly.

The CAF anticipates the stucco work to begin in April. "We will anticipate to have the entire mural done by the Herndon Festival, in June," said Shoemaker. "The Town gave us approval for a year to complete the project, otherwise we have to ask for an extension." Naquin is eager to begin work on the mural. "I am ready to go, once the façade is ready. I will probably be there 10 or 12 hours a day," said Naquin.

"I would say there are two phases, first a landscape that is conducive to a park, and a secondly landscape that can have pets and animals that can be drawn in it," said Naquin. "In my research the biggest issue was to disguise the windows, there are 10 or 11 windows on the wall. I looked at a number of landscapes to disguise the windows and not make them obtrusive. I was also trying to keep an image of Runnymede Park as a nice backdrop." Runnymede Park located at 195 Herndon Parkway is a site for many community nature-related events such as the yearly Nature Fest.

To help finance the mural project, for a limited time the CAH has opened sponsorship opportunities. Depending on the level of contribution, donors can either have their pet’s likeness added to the mural, or have the name of their animal "carved" on a tree. The five levels of sponsorship range from $250 to $2,000. "We are hoping to raise more than what it costs us and to use the money for other programs," said Shoemaker.

SO FAR LOCAL OPINION has been in favor of a new mural. "I look forward to a new mural, I think it is a great idea," said Beth Meyer, co-owner of the Green Lizard Cycling, a small business which neighbors Dominion Animal Hospital. "I absolutely support it, I think it will be great," said Town of Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel. "I think a mural is cool because it is nice to showcase local art," said Melanie Stanley, an artist and resident of Herndon for 27 years.

"It is great working with Dominion Animal hospital," said Signe Friedrichs, Executive Director at Council for the Arts of Herndon. "Their staff and the doctors have been enthusiastic supporters of this project for some time, and the only stumbling block has been raising funds for the project… We hope it will be appealing to children and nature lovers and will help the downtown be even more welcoming to visitors."

To learn more about the Herndon Council for the Arts visit herndonarts.org.