Removal of the "Founding of Worthington" Mural on December 14, 2020

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Removal of the "Founding of Worthington" Mural on December 14, 2020 is a picture, with genre photograph and murals.

It was created on Monday, December 14, 2020.

Worthington Libraries is the Contributor.

These photographs show Melanie and David Holm, an exhibitions preparator at the Columbus Museum of Art, taking down the centerpiece from the Founding of Worthington mural from where it had hung in the Old Worthington Library for over 20 years. The painting, which measures 6 feet by 20 feet, was installed at the City National Bank for its grand opening in March, 1963, along with two other endpiece paintings, each 6 feet by 10 feet. The bank, which eventually merged with JP Morgan Chase, stood at the corner of Broadmeadows Boulevard and High Street just south of Worthington’s city limits. When the bank was torn down, the entire mural became the property of the Worthington Historical Society and was placed on permanent loan to the Old Worthington Library, where it was displayed for more than 20 years. The endpieces and the centerpiece (pictured here) were displayed on the east and west walls of the "popular library"--the main reading room on the library's upper level.

The mural was removed from the Old Worthington Library in late 2020 and returned to the historical society. In the years prior to that, a growing number of library patrons had voiced their discomfort with the mural being prominently displayed in a public library, as it depicts not only a romanticized view of colonial America, but also celebrates a time period when Native Americans were being forcibly removed from their land and Black people were held in slavery. As part of the library’s Anti-Racist Resolution, passed in September 2020 after a summer of increased understanding and awareness of issues related to racial justice and systemic racism, it was decided that the mural would be returned and that space would feature art highlighting the library’s role as a community center for all.

The mural’s artists, Louis P. Szanto and Andrew B. Karoly, were natives of Hungary based in New York City. During the 1950s and early ‘60s they worked extensively in Cleveland, painting more than 30 murals for area businesses. They painted murals for at least a dozen bank branches for their biggest Cleveland client, the Society for Savings.

The mural represents a romanticized view of Worthington history meant to appeal to traditional values at a time of rapid societal change. In that respect, the work is more a reflection of the time it was created—the turbulent 1960s—than life in 1803, when Worthington was founded.

In the foreground of two of the photographs is a cluster of chairs, tables and lamps with caution tape wrapped around them. Since March, 2020, the library had been closed to entry by the public due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The library was briefly open to the public in late summer, 2020, when the chairs were arranged here to discourage patrons from lingering inside the building.

It covers the topics race relations, racism, art and artists.

It features the people Melanie Holm and David Holm.

It covers the city Worthington. It covers the area Old Worthington.

You can find the original at Worthington Libraries.

This file was born digital in the format video/jpeg.

The Worthington Memory identification code is wpl0509_001.

This metadata record was human prepared by Worthington Libraries on January 11, 2021. It was last updated September 11, 2023.