Rector mural getting much needed facelift

Thursday, June 14, 2012
Malcomb Weir of Jonesboro works on the Rector mural last week, as the current restoration project nears completion

Rector's city mural is being returned to its original beauty under the hand of artist Malcomb Weir of Jonesboro.

Weir began work last week on the restoration and hopes to finish later this week. The vibrant colors are again stunning and the eye-catching mural will again be one of Rector's finest attractions.

Painted in the fall of 1993 by Sandy Midkiff, a multi-talented artist who then lived in Rector, the mural came about when then Chamber of Commerce president Nancy Kemp asked Midkiff to create a color version of a black and white city logo the Chamber had chosen through an earlier contest -- and consider painting a mural with that new color design.

Keith Hill was Chamber president when the logo contest was held, and the late Linda Waldron, then an active Chamber member, was excited when a submission from one of her family members was chosen as the winner.

Kim Hocott of Little Rock wrote of her winning design that the work was a reflection of her memories of visits to Rector to see her grandparents, the late Mr. and Mrs. Jay Waldron.

Chamber members were thrilled with Midkiff's color version of the logo and were especially happy when she agreed to paint the mural, even though she wasn't excited about working on a scaffold.

The finished mural was, of course, stunning and has always been a source of great pride for Rectorites, who have reproduced the image in numerous ways over the years. The design even appears on the city's police cars.

A native of Walnut Ridge, Weir lived for several years in Florida, where he painted many different kinds of murals for schools, churches and even for children's rooms.

Weir credits his high school art teacher for encouraging his talent.

"She drafted me to do some paper banners for the football team to run through, and then the school got me to do a couple of things," he said.

"When I first went to Florida, I worked at a lot of sign shops doing hand lettering and was doing some lettering for a restaurant when the owner mentioned he had thought about having a picture on the wall."

Weir painted a scene which was both below water and above water and progressed along the building and into the bar, going from daytime to nighttime.

"I've always had a knack for art," he said. "It's God's gift to me."

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