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Historic Skyline Mural at Clinton Elementary gets a Facelift Thanks to Original Artist


September 13, 2019 -- When Marlo Bartels created and installed the “Skyline Mural” in 1987 for Home Savings of America Bank located in the Graceland Shopping Center, he had no idea his artwork would be saved and moved not once, but three times. 

Now the famous “Skyline Mural” is displayed in the cafeteria at Clinton Elementary School for students to see. 

32-years later, Bartels, a California-based artist, was invited to come back to Columbus and repair the masterpiece that has become a staple in Clintonville for three-decades.

The mosaic ceramic mural tells a story of Columbus’ history.students looking at mural

“A big feature of Columbus for me is the river,” said Bartels. 

A view of downtown Columbus from Bicentennial park in the mid-80s, highlighting the LeVeque Tower, Nationwide, Ohio Supreme Court, as well as the Lazarus Water Tower.

As Bartels chips away at the damage, he is reminded by the history in this piece and what inspired him to create this 32-years ago.

“I researched imagery and pictures and things of Ohio, specifically Columbus. I was very impressed with the historical museum and a lot of the imagery I found there it found its way into the mural,” he says. 

marlo bartels Buffalos; frogs; The Great Seal of Ohio; the state bird, a cardinal and the Ohio flag are just a few historic pieces found along the boarder of the mural. But it’s not just the mural itself that tells a story, but the time-travel of the piece of art. 

In 1999, Bob Evans bought the deteriorating building, where the bank once was and decided to build a restaurant. The company agreed to remove the mural on the wall. The Clintonville Area Commission found a new home for the historic piece, moving it to a fitting location. The Discovery Park located on the grounds of Clinton Elementary School. Here the mural, weighing 3.5 tons, was carried down North High Street and mounted in August of 2000.

Bartels agreed to come to Columbus to repair the ageing mural with the help of his son, Jesse and PTA parent Jim Marshall. 

Undisrupted for 12-years until the school was renovated, the mural was moved inside to the cafeteria where it sits today.

“We’ve been looking closely at it, both in the art room and the librarian has been looking closely at the history and all of the details of the mural,” said art teacher, Sarah Rough. 

Rough says her students have always admired the mural and talks about it as a topic of discussion in class.

She says it’s great that they get a chance to see the original artist bring the mural back to painting in art class life in front of their own eyes.

“The kids have so many opportunities through art to problem solve, to figure out their voice  and who they are and what they have to say. They get to be apart of making our world a wonderful place,” Rough says.

Bartels, has two sons and a grandchild, he says he hopes students realize that they are lifelong learners and there is always something new to learn and experience.