Mural Contest Winner: Local artist creates design for library mural

Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Kelly Ramirez of Berryville was selected as the winner of the Friends of the Berryville Library’s recent mural design competition. A native of Guatemala who moved to Berryville with her family in 2006, Ramirez said she planned to donate her $250 cash prize to the library’s building fund.
Submitted photo

Kelly Ramirez of Berryville was selected as the winner of the Friends of the Berryville Library’s recent mural design competition. The Friends were looking for a mural design that would make a visual statement about what our library means and brings to our community. The finished mural will be hung on the outside of the library at 104 Spring St. with plans to move it to the new library building in the future.

Friends of the Berryville Library member Kriste-lee led the charge for this community project.

“The entries were judged blindly by a panel of volunteers who evaluated the entries on aesthetic appeal and their ability to capture the essence of our library most uniquely.” Kriste-Lee said.

Submitted photo

“We received a number of wonderful designs depicting what the library brings to the community and the judges had a hard time selecting only one winner,” Friends of the Berryville Library president Mary Knight said. “I’m glad I didn’t have to choose!”

Ramirez, originally from Guatemala, was selected as the winner of the contest and received a $250 cash prize. When asked what she planned to do with her contest winnings, she quickly replied that she intended to donate it to the Berryville Library Building Fund.

Ramirez moved to Berryville with her family in 2006 and is a graduate of Berryville High School. She is currently enrolled in an online art school based in California with aspirations of becoming an illustrator with a focus on book cover design.

Ramirez remembers kindergarten in Guatemala, where there were no public libraries in her village. Her library consisted of a small bookshelf in her classroom with a few used picture books. Most of the books were handmade and handbound, and she remembers how special each one was to her. Ramirez recalls always wanting to surround herself with books from an early age but didn’t have that opportunity until moving to the United States, where she could freely visit a library, further fueling her passion for reading and learning through the use of books.

“I didn’t think I would win this competition,” Ramirez said. “I really just entered it for fun and the experience. I am so excited to donate my prize money to help build a bigger and better library for our community! Our library is truly busting at the seams and could offer so much more if we just had the additional space.”

Ramirez joined the Berryville library staff in 2019 and, since her arrival, has been working hard to grow the library’s services for Spanish-speaking community members. She has recommended the purchase of new books in Spanish. Earlier this year she started Hola! Berryville, a bilingual storytime program offered the second and fourth Monday of each month on the library’s Facebook page. This month she is working hard with fellow library employee Mayra Valle to launch a Spanish language Facebook page for the library. This page will be launched on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Ramirez’s intention in her winning mural design was to capture the library through the eyes of a child who grows up in the library — first coming for books and fun, later, for job assistance, research, computers, and all those grown-up library services. In the center of the design is the city of Berryville with a flock of flying books over it. The flying books are there to show that no matter how fast things seem to be changing with the use of the internet and technology, libraries and books will always be needed as libraries are not just books sitting on a shelf but rather nests of knowledge, however that information chooses to fly into our brains.

“The Berryville Library truly is a place where all are welcome, and Kelly’s use of color is both happy and calming,” added Kriste-Lee.

Local artist James Abbott has been contracted to paint the mural, which will later be hung on the library building.

“We want to thank everyone who took the time to submit an entry. We are hoping to be able to host an exhibition soon so all can see and enjoy the wonderful pieces of art that were created for this contest,” said Julie Hall, director of the Berryville Library.

Donations are currently being accepted to help offset the cost of materials to paint and permanently display the mural. Donations may be made to Friends of the Berryville Library and mailed to 104 Spring St., Berryville, AR 72616. Please note the donation is for the mural project.

The library continues to offer curbside service but is also now open by appointment for people needing to come into the building. For more information on current library hours, services and programs, visit www.berryvillelibrary.org or call 870-423-2323. The Berryville Library also offers active Facebook and Instagram pages.

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