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Ashland Mural Artists to Simulate the Soo

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Soo Line mural working design
Soo Line mural working design

Ashland area artists Sue Martinsen and Kelly Meredith have their summer planned out: they're going to build a railroad. ... Mural.

The duo will spend about three months depicting two large 1950s to 1970s-era Soo Line trains, including the first diesel engine that arrived in Ashland in 1951. The project will add the rail-themed facade to the pair's popular "Mural Walk," which comprises 15 other murals ranging in theme from aviation to town history to lumberjacks. Martinsen and Meredith have done all of the murals themselves, starting in 1997. Martinsen said the two get along well, but are all business when it comes to getting the job done. They each bring their own set of talents to the table, but, uniquely, the finished product appears as the work of one artist.

Martinsen and Meredith chose the diesel theme because of the prevalence of steam engines depicted in train murals around the country. Plus, it has sentimental value for them. "This is the era that we really remember," Martinsen said. "So it'll be fun to see these engines up on the wall."

The mural will go on the Maitland, Singler & Van Vlack building, and should be finished by the end of the summer.

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