“Marching Through Time”
Centennial Park in Downtown Porterville
The Porterville Mural Committee, in association with the Time Marches On Committee, is currently in the process of fundraising for the proposed “Marching Through Time” historical band mural to be placed on the east side of Centennial Park on Main Street. This mural will depict a chronology of the rich history of bands in the community beginning in 1902, which coincidentally is also the year that the City was incorporated. In researching the history, it appears that Porterville may have had the first school marching band in the country which is something that definitely deserves to be memorialized.
Highlighting the mural will be the portraits of the four band directors who established and built the bands into highly recognized and respected programs not only in this community, but around the country and even the world. Frank Howard was the first band director in 1902 followed by Bill Robbins from the 1920’s to the 1940’s. Frank Buck Shaffer really put the Porterville Panther Band on the map over his 37 years as band director beginning in 1953 and Dale Anderson led the first Monache Marauder Band from its inception in the 1970’s until his retirement in the early 2000’s. The mural also portrays the two great high school bands in familiar settings and in places where they have performed carrying the name of Porterville far and wide. At the end of the mural are three musicians representing the continuation of the bands into the future, so this also includes a member of the newest high school band in town, Granite Hills. The opposite side of the mural will be used to place recognition to those who have contributed to the mural project. Music notes with the contributor’s name and other information will be artistically placed on that side.
The Committee felt strongly that Centennial Park is the perfect location for the mural as it is in the heart of downtown where these bands have marched down Main Street for years delighting the parade crowds and also is now the location of the “Time Marches on” Clock which is a tribute to Buck Shaffer and the attractive black benches with the musical note motif. It is also the venue for musical concerts, public gatherings, and well as a place for rest and relaxation. The mural will be 10 feet in height sitting on a three foot foundation and 100 feet in length running along the back of the park from the gazebo to the sidewalk on the south side. The Committee also plans complementary landscaping and lighting which will add to the ambience and charm of Centennial Park and help to make this an attraction to draw people to the downtown area. Murals are not only aesthetically pleasing and historically educational, but are terrific economic development tools for a community. The Committee has received the approval of the City Council to place the mural in Centennial Park and is now able to proceed with fundraising for this important historical project. The Committee’s goal is to have the dedication of the mural on 11/11/11, Veterans’ Day 2011!
The Mural Committee is under the umbrella of the Porterville Art Association, a non-profit organization. The purpose of the Porterville Art Association is to establish and maintain a center for the arts in the community, promote multi-cultural arts in the area, heighten the community awareness of the arts through educational programs, art exhibits, art scholarships, and meaningful art activities.
The Mural Committee has completed two historical murals to date, the large Centennial Mural across the street from the Bank of the Sierra on Garden Avenue in Porterville and the Iris Mural on the Tulare County Family Services building, just south of City Hall on Main Street. These two murals have been included in the recently published book, “Large Art in Small Places,” which depicts the same values in other communities throughout the state and serves as a guide to tour the areas where these murals are located. The Committee raises funds for the murals from community fund raisers and monetary and in-kind donations.