Artist paints mural of ‘peaceful Medina’ under Glenwood Avenue bridge by canal

Photos by Ginny Kropf: (Left) Brandi Zavitz takes a break from the mural she is painting underneath the Glenwood Avenue bridge. The artist received a grant from GO Art! for the project. (Right) Zavitz works from a scaffold on the mural she designed in Medina.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 19 August 2022 at 1:22 pm

MEDINA – Medina artist Brandi Zavitz has ridden or bike or walked under the Glenwood Avenue bridge thousands of times, she said.

“I often thought, ‘When I retire, I’d like to paint a mural there under the bridge,’” she said.

This mural underneath the Glenwood Avenue bridge in Medina is a work in progress for artist Brandi Zavitz.

Zavitz, who is a Medina native, did retire June 20, 2021 after 31 years of teaching art at Holley Central School. During that time she has painted murals, musical sets, backdrops and scenery for dance recitals.

“When I retired I said I was going to paint myself into oblivion, and I went out and bought 30 canvasses,” she said.

Then she saw an advertisement on Orleans Hub that the village of Medina was looking for an artist to paint a mural under the Glenwood Avenue bridge. She applied. Actually, she was the only artist who applied, she said.

She was hired and applied for a grant from GO ART!

“On the application they asked for three examples of my work,” Zavitz said. “I didn’t have pictures of the murals I had painted, but I sent them four pages of some of my artwork I had created through the years.”

She said the village asked for something historic, which wasn’t normally in her style of artwork.

“I consider myself an expressionist, impressionist surrealist painter,” she said. “I love color. Arthur Barnes has done a lot of historic things in the area and I wanted to do something that represents peaceful Medina – that shared my memories. I wanted it to tell a story, create something that takes you time to walk through the mural.”

She also wanted to focus on everyday life, the simple things, like a Journal Register delivery boy, wild lilies that grow along the road or a Mini League baseball player.

A Little Leaguer has been painted in by artist Brandi Zavitz on the mural. Flowers and leaves are sketched in, waiting for Zavitz’s brush.

She sketched her ideas on the wall and began painting a week ago.

Her mural includes apples, a pet cat she lost, a window from Newell Shirt Factory, the culvert under the canal, Medina Falls, fall leaves, a marching band, and the steeple at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of her project is the people who have gone by on the towpath or in boats on the canal.

“I have talked to people from North Carolina, South Carolina, Germany, Maine, Colorado, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Pennsylvania,” she said.

One resident who walks the towpath every day is Paul Wengrzycki, who said he loves the mural.

“She’s showing everything about Medina,” he said. “She is showing the village.”

He takes the time every day to stop and chat and view her progress.

Zavitz hopes to have the mural done no later than Sept. 30, if rain doesn’t slow her progress.

One thing that takes a lot of her time is setting up and taking care of her supplies every day. She parks as close as she can to the bridge, then has to carry six or eight cans of paint, brushes, etc. to the site. Much of the work has to be done from a scaffold and ladder.

Zavitz doesn’t consider herself a typical artist.

“An artist is like the Pied Piper,” she said. “I poured my heart into my classes. I always taught my students to respect each other and themselves. Art has been such a wonderful tool.”

She has taught exchange students from Colombia, Switzerland and Korea, who are now artists all over the world, she said.

“A true artist sees the world with a different set of eyes,” Zavitz said. “You look at something and make it your own. It takes a special amount of creativity.”

Paul Wengrzycki of Medina walks the towpath every day. Here, he stops to admire Brandi Zavitz’s artwork.