‘Project Grit’ a good fit for Wilmington, says Denver Place art teacher


Downtown photo portraits signify town’s resilience

By Gary Huffenberger - [email protected]



On the exterior wall of Wilmington City Hall that faces Locust Street are Project Grit photographs of residents Sheila and Byron McGee. (Don’t be confused: On the right edge of the News Journal photo is a window reflection of a building on the other side of the street.)


The Project Grit banner portrait of Wilmington Chief of Police Duane Weyand is strategically placed on the city hall wall that faces the municipal parking lot. The police station is located on the building’s first floor.


WILMINGTON — Photo portraits of residents, young and old and in-between, were pasted on the exteriors of walls downtown and at Denver Place Elementary over the weekend to publicize the gritty spirit of Wilmingtonians.

Once some 17 more banner photographs are installed outdoors this coming Saturday on Rodger O. Borror Middle School walls, nearly 100 portraits of community members will be featured in what’s named Project Grit.

The effort stems from Denver Place Elementary School art teacher Doug Davis.

The posters are meant to celebrate, in an artistic way, some of the positives and the grit that can be found in Wilmington.

Passers-by will probably know a lot of the people spotlighted on the posters, Davis said, and agree that the people definitely have grit.

The portrait locations downtown include the General Denver, city hall, the 94 South Building, the radio station building, and the former News Journal building, all of them brick structures.

Brick is a good bonding surface, said Davis, who added that nevertheless some of the temporary banners may come down in the weather.

At Denver Elementary, there are portraits of Denver Place students pasted on the outside walls facing Lorish Avenue and the parking lot. As an element of surprise for some of the children, there are portrait banners higher up on a chimney and the roof line, he said.

Also pictured on banners at the elementary school are crossing guard Ian Wood and former longtime teacher Virgene Peterson whose portrait is watching over the playground.

There are other facets to Project Grit, including a Facebook page Wilmington’s Got GRIT (@wilmingtongrit) and an art project opening for the entire community 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29 at the Murphy Theatre.

The event will be relatively brief but a good time, said Davis. Wilmington filmmaker Grant Peelle has produced a film which will highlight some Project Grit participants, and former mayor Randy Riley will be the emcee.

Helping put up the portrait banners Saturday were members of a Wilmington College sorority and the WHS Interact Club, plus several community members, said Davis.

Project Grit is part of a global public art initiative called the Inside Out Project. Local professional photographer Kim Law took the photographs.

The local project’s theme of “grit” is a character trait stressed by Denver Elementary Principal Karen Long.

Project Grit has the following action statement. “The key to succeeding in life, for us in Wilmington, is passion, perseverance, resilience and stamina for long-term goals: Grit. Wilmington’s got grit!”

Davis said the emphasis on grit at Denver Place Elementary offers a “growth mindset” for young students, and “fits beautifully” with the portrait project.

“We felt like the grit of students matched the grit of the community,” added Davis.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

On the exterior wall of Wilmington City Hall that faces Locust Street are Project Grit photographs of residents Sheila and Byron McGee. (Don’t be confused: On the right edge of the News Journal photo is a window reflection of a building on the other side of the street.)
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/web1_mcgees_p_f.jpgOn the exterior wall of Wilmington City Hall that faces Locust Street are Project Grit photographs of residents Sheila and Byron McGee. (Don’t be confused: On the right edge of the News Journal photo is a window reflection of a building on the other side of the street.)

The Project Grit banner portrait of Wilmington Chief of Police Duane Weyand is strategically placed on the city hall wall that faces the municipal parking lot. The police station is located on the building’s first floor.
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/web1_chief_p_f.jpgThe Project Grit banner portrait of Wilmington Chief of Police Duane Weyand is strategically placed on the city hall wall that faces the municipal parking lot. The police station is located on the building’s first floor.
Downtown photo portraits signify town’s resilience

By Gary Huffenberger

[email protected]

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