‘Welcome’ to IM, ‘Hope’ the three new murals ‘Inspire’ you

DOZENS OF SPECTATORS came out Thursday afternoon for the unveiling of the three completed Power of Words Project murals that the Iron Mountain Downtown Development Authority and the Svelata Foundation helped make possible in Iron Mountain. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Power of Words Project that earlier artistically pledged to “believe” in the “community” now has added “inspire,” “hope” and “welcome” to its message murals in downtown Iron Mountain.

Artist and mural designer Mia Tavonatti and her crew of professional and student artists have finished three more murals in downtown Iron Mountain over the past month — “and we are tired,” Tavonatti admitted Thursday.

The “Inspire” wall on the west facade of the Sikora Sheet Metal building at 216 E. Hughitt St., the “Hope” mural on the north-facing wall of Greenway Books at 527 S. Stephenson Ave. and the “Welcome” mural on the south wall of the 535 S. Stephenson Ave building are the third, fourth and fifth of at least 11 murals Tavonatti has planned for the area.

It’s part of her plan to turn downtown into a cultural destination.

“We are going to start bringing in mosaics, we are gonna start to bring in sculptural pieces, I want to bring in artists from all over the world, and I want to train local artists,” Tavonatti said.

FROM LEFT, Amanda Bekkala, Lawrence Jankowski, Mia Tavonatti, Jeff Gurchinoff, Nita Englund and Miriam Edwards pull the veil off the “Welcome” wall mural on the south wall of the 535 S. Stephenson Ave. building. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

The project began in 2013 with the first mural “Believe,” on the west facade of the Blackstone Pizza Co. building at 207 E. Hughitt St., and then the “Community” mural on the west side of The Daily News building, 215 E. Ludington St in 2017.

The “Believe” wall is about the imagination. “Community” has about 80 portraits of people in the area, either past or present, that play a role in the area.

All of the words for the mural project were chosen through a public, online vote, taken from suggestions made by residents in the area.

The recently finished “Inspire” wall shows several facets of the theme: inspiring someone, being inspired and the process of inspiration. “Hope” is a word graphic that expands Tavonatti’s vision, but didn’t cost as much money to create. And finally, the “Welcome” is as it says, acting as a gateway to the downtown.

“I’m trying to create a diverse collection so that there is something for everybody,” Tavonatti said.

From left, Nita Englund, Miriam Edwards, Tara Tavonatti, Mia Tavonatti, Casey Hoaglund and Amanda Bekkala in front of the “Hope” mural on the north wall of Greenway Books at 527 S. Stephenson Ave. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

The “Welcome” mural was the final project for 2018 in Iron Mountain and contains “the things we love, and we share with our families and friends and tourists.”

The bottom of the mural shows a little girl fishing with her great-grandfather, waving and holding a “blue moon” ice cream cone that is dripping into the water. Tavonatti incorporated Fumee Creek, Piers Gorge, Fumee Lake, Moon Lake, ice skates, ski jumps, the Cornish Pump, and all four seasons to attract people to the downtown area.

Tavonatti said she wants to “welcome visitors to come in and look deeper,” that there is more to be discovered here.

Funding for the 2018 projects came from an Artplace grant awarded to the Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Regional Commission, or CUPPAD, as well as local corporate and individual sponsorships.

All Power of Words Project money raised go toward materials, travel, lodging, food, wall preparations, promotion, grants for local artists and scholarships for local art students who work side-by-side with Tavonatti and her team of professional artists in these mural creations.

From left, artists Brandon Barkle, Nita Englund, Amanda Bekkala, Miriam Edwards, Tara Tavonatti, Mia Tavonatti, Casey Hoaglund, Lawrence Jankowski, Jeff Gurchinoff and Laura Davis pose in front of the "Inspire" wall on the west façade of the Sikora Sheet Metal building at 216 E. Hughitt St. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

“Don’t forget the power of your words. You can either inspire or put out somebody’s fire. Pay attention to the power of your words,” Tavonatti said.

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