Mural completed just in time for Tama-Toledo RAGBRAI

T-R PHOTO BY MICHAEL D. DAVIS
The new mural painted by Eric and Jenny Rosario is completed just in time for RAGBRAI and can be viewed on the side of the Tama County Abstract building at 123 W. High St. in Toledo.

TOLEDO — It was a race against time and a feverish feat of art and sweat. Eric and Jenny Rosario have painted a beautiful mural on the side of the Tama County Abstract building in Toledo in a mere three weeks.

When Eric Rosario was approached about doing a mural on the side of the two-story building in June, he was excited. Then he was told the owners wanted it finished in time for RAGBRAI.

For any other artist, this would be a problem, but for Eric Rosario, it was a challenge. Dawn to dusk, after work, and on the Fourth of July; are all times Eric and Jenny were up on the scaffolding working away. The two even at times called in the big guns — their kids — for help to get more paint on the wall.

This is far from Eric Rosario’s first mural, as he had started as a graffiti artist in New York before going to art school. After school, Rosario joined the Navy, and he continued his art throughout his military career.

His biggest mural comes from his Navy days, having painted the doors of a carrier with all the different divisions and department signatures. Jenny Rosario said that one of his more interesting murals was on the side of an F-14 Tomcat fighter jet. Eric and Jenny worked on that project together as well as painting a screaming eagle on the nose of the plane for fleet week in New York.

Eric hopes this will lead to more murals and other works of art around the community.

“I would love to do a fighting Trojan in the gym with the Art Club,” he said.

One of Ro’s other dream murals to see around town would be a veterans-type work — a painting showing firemen and policemen, “our true heroes,” Ro said.

Eric and Jenny Rosario worked around the clock getting a painting done in three weeks that they say should have taken months, but the community played a large part in keeping them on track. For Ro, motivation was key, and with locals stopping by every day to compliment and chat, he wasn’t lacking in it. For the last three weeks, local Tama-Toledo residents altered their normal routines so that every day they could walk or drive by and get a glimpse of Ro’s work.

The mural shows many different historical parts of Tama-Toledo. One of them is Toledo’s stoplight. Smack in the middle of the mural is the big beautiful yellow stoplight painted yellow because this was the stoplight’s original color.

In the beginning, Eric was simply going to paint the stoplight all yellow until a local citizen stopped by to talk and asked if he was going to paint the stripes on the stoplight.

Ro didn’t know what he was talking about. The local man went home and soon returned with a printed-out photo of Toledo’s stoplight showing it had stripes on its base. So Ro painted them.

Whether the locals were stopping by to make Eric and Jenny’s painting more historically accurate or just to chit chat, the community spirit flowed through the Rosarios as they painted every inch of the wondrous mural. The thousands of riders and travelers descending upon the community for RAGBRAI today will now have the opportunity to see it for themselves.

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