Mattawan artist paints a mural under a bridge to beautify his hometown

Mattawan mural
Tools of artists work, at the mural along 60th avenue near Glidden street in Mattawan Friday, July 31, 2020. Dozens showed up to help add more color to the mural. (WWMT/Jason Heeres)

For years the train trestle at 60th Avenue and Glidden Street in Mattawan was a destination for graffitists so a resident decided it was a time to beautify the area.

Jesse Sugden has painted several murals over his lifetime and when the opportunity to beautify his hometown came up, he sprang at the idea.

"I was sick of seeing the community going down just in this corner alone you know. It’s a well driven bridge, as you can see people drive by here all the time and I wanted to give the community something that they could look forward to seeing every day. Not to mention [2020] has been bleak so I wanted to give a little something back," he said.

Sugden spent three days working on the mural along the south side of 60th Avenue.

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For a total of 24 hours he worked on the project, adding in things like the Mattawan water tower and grape vineyards known to the area.

The mural spans nearly the entire length of the wall.

Sugden said he spent around $100 out of his own pocket, but it wasn't not about the cost.

"I’m not getting really paid to do this. It’s more so that people can enjoy the art," he said.

Sugden knew when new housing came into the area, that the new residents wouldn't want young kids to see profanity on the wall under the bridge.

Once Sugden finished with the landscape art, he focused on the other wall.

The wall on the north side of the bridge was all white, with a yellow and blue wildcat, which is the mascot for Mattawan Public Schools.

Friday, July 31, 2020, Sugden invited members of the community to come out and help with the wildcat mural.

Dozens came to help with the mural. Creating a montage of blue and yellow hand prints.

Sugden dedicated the mural to his late cousin and said he was not done with the mural.

He planned on being at the mural, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, along with more community members, to finish the wildcat portion of the mural.

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