Almost a decade ago, Mural Mania began as a volunteer civic effort in Lyons, NY. The first mural was a tribute to Winston Dobbins, a business owner and local history buff who collected vintage postcards. “Winston’s Dream,” an image based on a 1910 postcard depicting life in Lyons along the Erie Canal was affixed to a former trolley bridge abutment in what would become the G. Winston Dobbins Park. It was a community-wide effort that transformed an unkempt, debris-filled area alongside the old Erie Canal.
In 2007, before the dedication, Winston Dobbins passed away. Soon after, Lyons resident Mark DeCracker partnered with Dobbins’ grown son Noel to establish Mural Mania, (“The Preservation of History Through Community Art”) to commission more local murals and develop a mural trail along the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor (ECNHC).
Mural Mania was just gaining traction when Noel Dobbins, battling scleroderma, passed away but he left a growing legacy. Today, a significant portion of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor—from Macedon to Syracuse—has 30 outdoor murals under the auspices of Mural Mania and many more in outlying communities.
In 2014, De Cracker attended the 9thGlobal Mural Conference in Quebec and made a successful pitch to host the 2016 conference here. The Fairport-based conference’s theme, “Preserving Heritage Through Community Art,” will shine a spotlight on the magnificent historical murals depicting the everyday slices of life and signature events that shaped the communities along the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.
Mural Mania’s Mark DeCracker along is chairing the 2016 Global Mural Conference in Fairport with help from a volunteer committee comprised of muralists, historians, teachers, writers and community activists. Donations to help underwrite conference costs will be accepted through the Fairport Foundation.