By Mike Kinney
Artwork painted on the Ferry Point Tunnel recently received a touch up courtesy of the original artist John Wehrle.
Wehrle is an award-winning muralist honored by the city in 2018 as the “greatest single contributor to public art murals in Richmond,” including murals on city gateways like underpasses and overpasses.
He painted the Ferry Point Tunnel for the first time in 1996, when it was dedicated by the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council (PRNC) and other community organizations and businesses. He touched up the same mural in 2007 before the PRNC recently coordinated with him, contractors and city staff to refresh it again, according to the PRNC newsletter.
PRNC Board members Margi Sullivan and Charmain Tyler were credited for spending countless hours on the restoration project.
Wehrle acknowledged the important work of fellow muralist Richard Muro-Salazar, who helped in the restoration.
“Old work is old work, but the community is very happy about it and that makes me happy knowing they are,” Wehrle said. “It’s always nice to be vertical when I am working.”
As his latest restoration effort will last a while, this is likely Wehrle’s last work on the mural. Next time, “somebody else will have to paint it,” he said.
Richmond resident Andrew Butt, who posted photos to social media of Wehrle working on the mural earlier this week, said he was fortunate to serve with the artist on the Board of Directors for the Richmond Art Center.
“We are so lucky to have such incredible art in Richmond, and so many phenomenal local artists like John,” Butt said.
Butt noted that the younger Muro-Salazar, who is also making a name for himself as a local emerging artist, is working on a mural near the entrance to Parchester Village.