Penny wall finished
It took a little over two years and more than 430 pounds of spare change to make it happen, but Randy Miller's vision finally became a reality.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon, he put the finishing touches on what he hopes will be a new tourist destination in the city's downtown area that literally took shape one penny at a time.
A local artist, Miller transformed a plain, cinder block wall of Kurly's sports bar and grill into a mural composed of spare pocket change. Known as the Penny Wall, it covers the upper half of the roughly 46-by-16 foot alleyway wall.
"I'm glad it's done because there's a lot of meaning behind it," Miller said. In addition to having people come out and view this new display, he hopes it'll also encourage folks to stop by the different shops and businesses in this part of town.
"If this helps Mountain Home, then I'm all for that," he said.
The Penny Wall project started in August 2010 when Miller started collecting the gallons of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters needed to create the Mountain Home-specific artwork. The all-volunteer project remained on hold for a few months as he also stored up enough of the specialized glue needed to keep the coins permanently attached to the mural.
Miller credited the local Dig-It group for donating those supplies.
Last September, he got to work gluing the first of the 15 gallons of coins to an outer frame composed of weather-resistant material. Pennies make up a majority of the frame's composition. Meanwhile, other types of coins were used to spell out "Mountain Home" and to create a silhouette of a fighter jet in the mural's upper left-hand corner.
During the first step of the project, Miller also cut sections of this foam material into different lengths and depths. Once the coins were added, it helped create a sense of depth.
While he got a start on the Penny Wall last fall, Miller had to put everything on hold due to adverse weather while also trying to work time into his schedule to continue the project. In addition, he ran out of his supply of the special adhesive.
"One tube alone costs $4, and I went through a lot more than I originally thought I'd need," Miller said.
It took more than 45 hours spread over five consecutive days this month for Miller to finish the creation. He glued the last pennies to the wall Sept. 15.
"All I wanted to do was go to bed. I was done; I was physically beat," said Miller as he reflected on completing the mural. "The last 'mile' was the hardest because it really started to wear on me."
For Miller, completing this mural was a matter of pride and a way for him to leave his own mark in the Mountain Home community.
"It was my own personal test in terms of just doing something like this," he said. "It's a big project and something I'd never seen done before."
Although the mural is complete, there's still plenty of space for others to become part of Penny Wall. A section of wall below the mural serves as a "wishing wall" where people can take their own spare change and turn it into pictures or personal messages.
Tubes of the special adhesive needed to affix coins to the wall will be available from businesses next to the mural.