BRISTOL BOROUGH >> In keeping with its ongoing commitment to develop public art projects while promoting local artists, the civic group, Bristol Borough Raising the Bar, has announced the dedication of another mural in the Borough.
This one, located at 142 Otter Street, will depict students in a classroom setting 170 years ago in one of Bristol’s first public schools, the Otter Street School, erected in 1854.
The mural was created by artist Jean-Marc Dubus, who has collaborated with Raising the Bar on two other projects in the borough, and a third in the Snyder-Girotti school done in cooperation with the Bristol Borough School District.
Dubus utilizes a technique of creating the art off site on non-woven canvas and then affixing it to the designated building.
The Otter Street address was the original home of a three-story brownstone schoolhouse that still stands. It was repurposed over several decades and is currently the site of the Harris Comfort (Harris Fuels) warehouse. Elements of the original building are still visible, but most of the façade was obscured by multiple owners over the years.
The project is financed by Harris Comfort and a matching grant provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Commercial Façade program. Raising the Bar and the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority administer the program in the Borough.
“The project presents the perfect opportunity to advance three of our goals: promoting the arts, telling a story of Bristol’s rich and diverse history, and preserving or restoring aspects of our oldest commercial buildings,” said Bill Pezza, president of Raising the Bar.
“While it was not structurally or financially feasible to return the entire building to its original design, we were excited by the potential to tell the story of the building’s original use and demonstrate that art and history can live in harmony with the commercial/industrial nature of that part of the Otter Street block,” Pezza added. “The project would not have been possible without the civic mindedness, generosity, and cooperation of the Harris Comfort team.”
An unveiling and dedication ceremony will be held Wednesday, June 16 at 11 a.m. The program will include remarks by the artist; business owner, David Harris; a brief history of the original school provided by local historian Harold Mitchener from the Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation; an “education then and now” presentation by children from the Snyder-Girotti School, and comments by Aliyah Stanger, Southeast Regional Director of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
All are invited. Light refreshments will be served.