Cuba, Missouri Route 66 attraction will lift you up…

This vacationing family decided a photo on the rocking chair was a great vacation photo.

This vacationing family from out of state decided a photo on the rocking chair was a great vacation photo.

If you are visiting the Cuba, MO area on Saturday, August 7, 2010 vacationing or visiting the 12 outdoor murals, the Fanning 66 Outpost is having its annual Picture in the Rocker Day, which has become an annual event. To say that the Route 66 Rocking Chair is one of Route 66’s biggest attractions is not an overstatement. At 42’1″, the Rocking Chair has been designated by the Guinness organization as the World’s Largest Rocking Chair. Now, you can be part of its history.

The Outpost charges $5.00 per person for you or your group to be lifted to the seat of the rocker. You bring your camera and take your own photos. In the past, photos have been taken for Christmas cards or other special events as well as just for the fun of it. The Saturday, August 7 event runs from 9 am to 5pm.

Previously, the Cuba Fire Department used their lift truck for the fund rasier, but they sold the truck. Rather than end the event, this year the Outpost is renting a lift truck, and the money raised will be used to pay for the truck.

The Picture in the Rocker Day has always been a fun day on Route 66.  Last year a bluegrass band, The Lonesome Hill Gang, showed up to play on the Outpost’s porch. Below is their photo from the seat of the rocker.

While you are waiting your turn for the rocker, you can visit the Outpost’s convenience store with its colorful inventory, check out the indoor or outdoor archery ranges, or just rock on the front porch and watch the traffic roll by on Route 66.

Mark your calendar, if you want a photo that is “Far from Ordinary,” to borrow a slogan from the Missouri VisitMO vacation site. It might not make you younger, richer, or better looking, but it will be fun.

The Lonesome HIll Gang played a little music from the seat of the Rocker.

The Lonesome HIll Gang played a little music from the seat of the Rocker.

For more information on the rocking chair, read “Landmark Guinness World’s Largest Rocking Chair celebrates second birthday.”

To read about other big things in Cuba, read “The small town of Cuba, MO things big–really, really big!”

Nature takes over beautification in Cuba, Missouri

At times, Mother Nature pushes the  Viva Cuba organization aside and takes over the beautification duties. In June, nature put on an evening display at sunset that we can’t rival.

It's not New York City or Chicago, but it's home to us.

It's not a New York City or Chicago skyline, but it's home to us.

Red Skies over Cuba MO

Sunset over Cuba MO

Sky over Cuba MO

Red sky at night,
Sailor’s delight;
Red sky at morning,
Sailor’s warning.

Cuba, Missouri Mural City gets more public art…

Ray Harvey uses a preliminary sketch as a guide while he sketches the mural images on the wall.

Ray Harvey uses a preliminary sketch as a guide while he sketches the mural images on the wall. Working inside is a welcome respite from the 90+ degree temperatures and humidity.

Missouri artist Ray Harvey is spending July adding to Cuba, MO’s growing collection of public art. Cuba is known for being the Route 66 Mural City and Viva Cuba’s 12 outdoor murals. However, as an offshoot of Viva Cuba’s mural project, business people in Cuba have commissioned their own examples of public art.

The latest entry in the public art scene is taking shape at Midwest Petroleum’s Truck Port  and Restaurant located on the north side of  the I-44 overpass.  Midwest Petroleum’s CEO Don McNutt gave Harvey the go ahead on the mural after viewing some proposed sketches and choosing the classic cars and Route 66 logo.

Using Midwest Petroleum’s lift and a sketch as a guide, Ray Harvey drew his design on the wall and began painting the Route 66-themed mural with its complement of classic cars. For an artist that often perches on lifts and scaffolding outside in 90+ degree heat and humidity, this inside job in the lobby of the air conditioned restaurant and convenience store is a welcomed change of pace.

Customers to the restaurant follow Harvey’s progress as they munch on their meal, and bystanders stop in the lobby to gaze up at the scene taking place. This is public art in the truest sense.

The mural will feature some popular classic cars that you probably wouldn't see outside a car show or auto museum.

The mural will feature some popular classic cars that you probably wouldn't see together except in a car show or auto museum.

If you want to see this latest addition to Cuba’s art scene, stop in at Midwest Petroleum’s lobby and watch it take color and shape. This is Harvey’s second week of working, and he estimates that it will take around three weeks of work. As you can see from the work so far, this colorful addition to Cuba’s public art should be a crowd pleaser.

Ray Harvey steps back to gain a little perspective on the mural.

Ray Harvey steps back to gain a little perspective on the mural.

Other locations of murals painted by Ray Harvey in the Cuba, MO area:  Victorian Manor, My Place Tires, Bette Davis, Murals on the 1930’s Phillips 66 Station, and Holy Cross Church and school hall. These can be viewed at the Other Public Art link on Viva Cuba’s website.

Viva Cuba keeps murals looking bright…with a lot of community support…

Artist Don Gray does restoration work on Civil War mural.

Artist Don Gray does restoration work on Civil War mural. Water had caused some damage.

Viva Cuba continues to invest time and money in its outdoor mural project. Viva Cuba, a nonprofit organization, originally commissioned the murals between 2001 and 2007. Viva Cuba raised money from individuals, local businesseses, and fundraisers to finance the murals. They are not a city project although the city has been supportive, especially concerning mural lighting. You might think 2007 is when the time invested and expense of the murals ended. That is not the case. Viva Cuba still continues to fundraise to maintain the murals and finance other beautification projects.

Over time, paints degrade, weather takes it toll, and  erosion of the surface occurs. Oxidation can cause the paints to dull.  However, the Viva Cuba beautification organization remains  committed to keeping the murals looking as good as possible. Murals are inspected quarterly for damage or degradation, and maintenance is ongoing. Each year during the repair/restoration season a team of artists and workman flock to the murals to clean, scrape, prime, repaint, and make any repairs or adjustments necessary.

When possible, Viva Cuba likes to have the original artists inspect, paint, and work with the maintenance team. However, that is not always possible because of the artists’ geographical location or other factors. Sometimes, the murals require only minor cleaning and touchup and at other times, more significant work is required. Preventive maintenance can save money and damage in the long term.

Last summer, Viva Cuba spent a significant amount on the Amelia Earhart ,Gold Star Boys, and the Apple murals.

Although cleaning and touch ups might occur on all the murals, this season the Al West mural and the Civil War series have seen major work.

See Michelle Pearson’s Cuba Free Press article “Al West gets touched up” for her report of the artist working on the Al West Mural.  The artist Leslie Faust was part of the original team that worked on the mural, and she was able to return for repair and restoration.

Artist Leslie Faust confers with Viva Cuba maintenance chairperson Jill Barnett and Jeff of Rolla, who assists Viva Cuba with cleaning and maintenance of the murals.

Artist Leslie Faust confers with Viva Cuba maintenance chairperson Jill Barnett (R) and painter Jeff Zelasko of Rolla, who assists Viva Cuba with cleaning and maintenance of the murals. The Al West mural is receiving restoration/maintenance work this summer.

Even the back of the mural wall gets attention. It was decided to clean and paint the back of the mural for moisture protection. The mural team likes to do preventive maintenance when possible.

Even the back of the mural wall gets attention. It was decided to clean and paint the back of the mural for moisture protection. The mural team likes to do preventive maintenance when possible.

The Civl War panels on Buchanan Street sustained some water damage early this spring. The damage was noticed and analyzed. The artist Don Gray who lives in the state of Oregon was consulted, sent photos, and agreed to fly to Cuba for a week of consultation and work. Gray is as committed to keeping the murals looking good as Viva Cuba is. He later complimented Viva Cuba for immediately dealing with the damage and preventing it from becoming worse.

Viva Cuba members picked Gray up at the airport. He was suppose to stay with Bill and Catherine Lange, but a short term AC glitch caused an overnight stay at Super 8, which the motel donated. Viva Cuba’s Vanessa Damouth coordinated meals and food for his stay. Gray had gift certificates from Frisco’s and MO-Hick BBQ to use while in town. Robert-Judson allowed him to charge the materials he needed to a Viva Cuba account, and the Lions Club let him keep his supplies in the building next to the Lion’s Den. Stovall rentals delivered scaffolding. Again, community support came together to help Viva Cuba make Gray’s visit to Cuba go as smoothly as possible.

Cuba’s Kevin Britton consulted with Gray on how to make the framing more protective for the murals and avoid future problems. Artist Julie Nixon Krovicka brought in newly painted text panels for the murals to further restore the mural series. After Gray scraped, primed and repainted some sections of the Leasburg panel, a new coating was put on all the murals that revived the oxidized paint and made the colors “pop” again.

Artists Julie Krovicka and Don Gray inspect the murals panels and discuss restoration.

Artists Julie Krovicka and Don Gray inspect the murals panels and discuss restoration.

The Civil War murals should be in good shape when there is a planned historical re-enactment of the Civil War battle at Leasburg in 2011.

For Don Gray’s own words on the Civil War panel restoration visit his Thursday, July 15 blog. He also provides some photos and links to information of the battles depicted in the murals.

Viva Cuba and its artists have found that passersby are just as interested in the maintenance of the murals as they are in the completed murals. The artists mention the tourists and locals who stop by to watch and question them about the murals. Both Faust and Gray kept mural brochures to pass out to travelers who stopped by.  Gray was amazed at the how many people stopped by from so many geographic locations around the world.

The murals have changed the face Cuba. Businesses have contributed their own public art projects to the Cuba scene. Cuba is known for its art work, and it has helped boost our economy. Viva Cuba will continue to raise funds and ask for your support with our fundraisers to keep our reputation as Cuba, MO “Rt. 66 Mural City” intact.

Viva Cuba Logo TM

Leslie Faust's car shows that an artist's tool box can be pretty extensive.

Leslie Faust's car shows that an artist's tool box can be pretty extensive.

Around town…signs of summer…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cuba's history museum got a new sign at the corner of Smith and Washington (Rt. 66).

Cuba’s history museum got a new sign at the corner of Smith and Washington (Rt. 66).

A trip around Cuba, MO shows some changes, updates, and “signs” of summer.

On Smith and Washington, the  History Museum folks have changed their sign to point out that they have some info on Rt. 66 and the murals. Their new website address is also on the sign. If you haven’t visited the museum, check out their website, and then make a visit. Take the kids and show them what it was like back-in-the-day.

The Museum staff works continually on improving their exhibits and collections. Upgrading their Route 66 collection is a current goal. They would love to make copies of any of your Rt. 66 photos, memorabilia, etc..  Museum hours are expanded for the summer.

The Main Street Bakery and Cafe has undergone several changes of management and names since its opening and is about to undergo another. Gordon Juneau, formerly of Gordoz in Rolla, will be re-opening in the historic Cox Complex building. As the sign in the window shows, he is advertising for workers. We look forward to having  the 100+ year-old building with its murals and hand-painted signage re-open.

The Bakery & Cafe needs a few good workers.

The Bakery & Coffee Shop needs a few good workers.

Soon tourists and locals will again be meeting at the Bakery.

Soon, tourists and locals will again be meeting at the Bakery.

The Gym has new quarters in the Resource Recovery building. Inside, they have cardio rooms, a weight room, a children’s play area, a personal training room, office, and more. Travelers can get a day pass. The business has a convenient rear entrance off Oakhill Road.

Update: The Gym is now the Git Fit Gym, and it is located off the N. Service Road past the Best Western Motel.

The Gym has moved to new quarters at 412 N. Franklin, the back of the Resource Recovery building with a rear entrance on Oakhill Road.

The Gym has moved to new quarters at 412 N. Franklin, the back of the Resource Recovery building with a rear entrance on Oakhill Road.

The Gym's hours are posted on their new door.

The Gym’s hours are posted on their new door.

This is only one of the rooms at the Gym's new location.

Are these machines calling your name?

One sign in town which changes weekly is the sign at the Methodist Church located on Washington (old Route 66).  The signs are sometimes humorous and make a spiritual, sometimes Biblical, observation.

This is one of the weekly sign changes on the Methodist Church sign.

This is one of the weekly sign changes on the Methodist Church sign.

Connie’s Shoppe at the Wagon Wheel Motel now has a new green sign on Route 66. The newly renovated rooms are open for booking and the gift shop is drawing lots of visitors.

Connie's Shoppe at the Wagon Wheel has a bright green outside to bring folks into the gift shop/office. Of course, the neon Wagon Wheel Motel sign still shines at night as it has since 1947.

Connie’s Shoppe at the Wagon Wheel has a new bright green sign  to bring folks into the gift shop/office. Of course, the neon Wagon Wheel Motel sign still shines at night as it has since 1947.

The last sign is our candidate for a sign upgrade. The current sign is too small for the entrance to Hood Park.  The metal sign on the right identifies Hood Park, but it seems a little dwarfed by the rock fence at the entrance gates. Could someone come up with a better plan for a classy sign and a way for the city to finance it?  The industrial parks will be getting new signs this summer. Perhaps Hood Park could get one like those so that there would be some consistency of signs in Cuba. Or perhaps one of the local welders could make an arched metal sign over the entrance.

Or maybe we could have this really big rocking chair at the entrance with the name of the park on it. Only kidding about that…That’s a crazy idea.

 

Hood Park needs a more stately sign

 Hood Park needs a more stately and visible sign. 

After: Doesn't the rocking chair give the entrance a more stately presence?

 Doesn’t the rocking chair give the entrance a more stately presence?

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