2018-01-04 / Front Page

Adventures of Olive, Dash and Scarlett featured on fountain cover

City employee’s art graces downtown


What is the story behind this beautiful, brightly colored box installed over the city fountain? 
Photo provided What is the story behind this beautiful, brightly colored box installed over the city fountain? Photo provided GRAND BLANC —The fountain next to Aubree’s was winterized and covered last year for the first time since its installation with a plain plywood box built by DPW employees. City Manager Jean- Buhrer wanted something more attractive in place this winter as it is in a prominent location on the main thoroughfare through the City.

An avid artist since childhood, Liz Hill, an Administrative Assistant with the City of Grand Blanc, said she started painting a few years ago. Having previously expressed interest to the Mayor about painting something in the city if an opportunity arose, this project was a perfect fit for her talents.

“City Manager Jean- Buhrer requested the theme of representing the four elements of Earth, Wind, Fire and Water,” Hill explained. “Everything else was up to me. It was the equivalent of painting four large scale paintings, each with its own frame, as each side is approximately six feet tall and four and a half feet wide. Everything was drawn freehand with the exception of the checkered borders which were carefully measured in order to preserve the size and scale of the design on each side.”


Lakeland terriers, Olive (gray) and Dash (tan and black), are real life dogs who are also featured subjects of the seasonal adventures they have while exploring the natural elements with their friend Scarlett. 
Photos provided Lakeland terriers, Olive (gray) and Dash (tan and black), are real life dogs who are also featured subjects of the seasonal adventures they have while exploring the natural elements with their friend Scarlett. Photos provided Hill said city Public Work’s employees were instrumental in the process, adding trim to the box and preparing it for painting. They added protective features to the top to prevent excess standing water so the paintings wouldn’t be damaged. When the painting was complete they sealed it to help protect it from the very elements it depicts. Installation of the box required the use of a backhoe to lift it into place over the fountain.

As part of her artistic license, Hill chose two of her favorite subjects— her two Lakeland terriers, Olive and Dash, and developed the theme around them. The piece is named, “Olive and Dash Explore the Elements”. Hill explained if you follow the mural around to each side, it weaves together a story of the dogs and their friend Scarlett the bird, as they experience each of the four elements.

“They start their adventure on the Earth side of the box as they run through fields and flowers and meet Scarlett,” Hill described the story. “As they follow her to the Wind side of the box we see they have run to the end of the earth and are on a cliff overlooking water below and watching Scarlett and her friends soar through the windy sky. An abandoned boat floats in the waves below. On the Water side, Olive, Dash and Scarlett have somehow made their way to the boat and are riding a gigantic wave. The final element of Fire is depicted on the fourth side of the box. Night has come and their adventure has ended. The boat has landed on shore and Dash and Scarlett sleep on the sand as Olive sits by a fire howling at the full moon.”

The beautiful work of art will be on display to all who pass by until warmer temperatures in spring when the fountain can flow freely again.

“I hope that it brings a smile or two to those who see it,” Hill added. — P.S.


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