Those driving or walking by the back side of the Sinclair building in Perry will likely have noticed a new mural.
The mural was completed the week of July 25 by artist Shawn Palek of Slater.
“It exceeded every expectation I had,” building owner Joe Unger said. “It’s not only fitting for the station, but it is art. He (did) an awesome job with it.”
The mural depicts a scene of a Sinclair service station employee wiping the windshield of a car. Unger came across the picture in a 1953 Sinclair calendar on eBay. While it wasn’t the original image that was talked about for the mural, as soon as Unger saw it he knew it was the one.
“I wanted to do something that paid tribute to the history of the building,” he said. “This is an 87 year old building, it was built in 1932 as a service station, as Perry Oil Company.”
The mural helps complete the vintage look of the building. Unger has been the owner for the past three years and has worked to restore it back to what it looked like as a service station, complete with a dinosaur mascot and gas pumps.
“It ties in so well with the building. You’ll notice a lot of people will stop, grandparents with their grandkids, and talk about the way things used to be,” Unger said. “They can talk about the old service stations, the gas station attendants and the way they used to do full service. It kind of brings back a lot of memories to a lot of people.”
Jenny Eklund, with Art on the Prairie, echoed Unger’s statement, saying “Viewing Perry through the art in our community is like a civics, history and art lesson all in one.”
Art on the Prairie sponsored the mural on the Sinclair building. Unger worked with the Art on the Prairie representatives to come up with the image for the mural.
“When he showed us the picture, it’s right down the style of art that Shawn does,” Eklund said of Palek’s air-brushed style of art.
This wasn’t the first mural air-brushed by Palek in Perry. He has completed murals in the alley between Mary Rose Collection and Perry Perk, as well as inside Perry Perk.
Eklund said Art on the Prairie will next turn its attention to a mural in the Josh Davis Memorial Plaza. Work should begin soon, she said.
As for Unger, he was happy to see the finished product on the outside of his building. He encourages community members and visitors to take a closer look.
“Stop and enjoy it. Take pictures,” he said.
He has enjoyed seeing a number of people stop and take pictures around his building. The new mural gives his building one more aspect for people to enjoy.
“Perry has really supported it, and I’ve taken a lot of pride in the building. I think it adds to the downtown,” Unger said.