Last spring, after noticing a colorful, new, abstract mural that had been painted over the Willimantic Public Library’s main door,
EASTCONN Executive Director Gary S. Mala asked for the artist’s name.
When he discovered that the artist, Ben Keller, was a local resident, he suggested that EASTCONN might like to hire Keller to paint the upper façade of EASTCONN’s new LEAP School building at 729 Main Street, in downtown Willimantic.
The former QVCC building had been empty for years, and its façade was badly marred. It needed an artistic hand to improve it.
Keller, who grew up in Hebron and had attended both RHAM high school and Windham Tech, agreed to submit mural proposals for consideration. His blue, aqua, orange and green, river-themed rendering emerged as the unrivaled favorite among EASTCONN staff, and Keller was hired. He began painting the mural during the last week of August.
“I agreed to paint the mural for LEAP because I enjoy beautifying the town and sharing my work publicly,” said Keller.
Passers-by stopped to watch Keller’s artistic vision emerge as he spray-painted the mural from the upper platform of a scissor-lift, which he maneuvered back and forth along the sidewalk.
He started work early each day, and painted late into the night, one night working with a head lamp on, since the lighting hadn’t yet been installed.
Keller also set up a camera across the street to capture stop-action photos of his progress – available now on the LEAP website: https://leap.eastconn.org/medias
Since 2012, Keller has painted more than 20 commercial signs and murals for business owners along Willimantic’s Main Street.
His works are rendered withboth brush and spray paint, and they range from abstract to photo-realistic. One of Keller’s earlier history-realistic paintings can still be seen along the back wall of The LEAP School. He also painted LEAP’s new street sign, on the transom over the main door.
To learn more about The LEAP School mural, contact EASTCONN’s Communications department at 860-455-1506.
Follow Ben Keller’s at Instagram.com/benkellerct.