Byron-Bergen Public Library mural dedication completed

By on July 10, 2017
Bergen artist David Burke dedicates the mural he painted on the rear exterior wall of the Byron-Bergen Public Library in the Village of Bergen. K. Gabalski photo

Bergen artist David Burke dedicates the mural he painted on the rear exterior wall of the Byron-Bergen Public Library in the Village of Bergen. K. Gabalski photo

Byron-Bergen Public Library manager Nancy Bailey says she initially envisioned flowers being painted on the back exterior wall of the library; but the final result, painted by Bergen resident David Burke, is flowers and much more.

The Bergen community gathered at the library Tuesday, June 27, to dedicate the new mural, which Burke said took him about three weeks to paint. “I’ve never done anything this size before,” Burke explained, as he pointed out features of the mural which include a steam locomotive – a nod to the village’s location as a stop on the New York Central Railroad – a farm landscape, the Bergen Swamp, resources offered by the library, and a portrait of the late Eileen “Tally” Almquist.

The images illustrate library resources and the library’s integration with the Byron-Bergen community, its history and environment.

Almquist served as director of the library from 1975-1993 and also served as village historian for 21 years.  Burke said he never knew Almquist personally, but he loved the idea – offered by members of the Library Board – to include her image in the mural reading to children.

The mural project was made possible by a $2,500 2017 Ripple Grant from GO ART! – the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council – which administers the New York State Council on the Arts’ Decentralization Re-grant Program.

Burke said he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do when he sought a grant last fall, but Nancy Bailey’s experience with grant funding helped him to envision the library mural depicting its ties to the community and to history. “She was the inspiration,” Burke said of Bailey.

In addition to Almquist, the dedication mentions all library staff, “who continue to make this library such a vital community resource.”

Bailey said the mural will get a sealant over the top to protect it. “It is a great asset to the community,” she said. “Most people really enjoyed watching him as he was painting the mural.”

Two of Almquist’s daughters, Vickie and Rebecca, attended the dedication.Vickie currently serves as a Bergen village trustee. “My mother was very proud of the library,” Vickie said.  “She loved the library, she was instrumental in making the change from a reading center to a library.”

Vickie called the mural, “fabulous,” and noted that it makes a wonderful addition to the community which has been working to make the village more walking and bicycle friendly.

“It’s pretty cool,” Vickie’s sister, Rebecca, added.

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A full view of the painted mural. K. Gabalski photo

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