Busy bees fundraising for ‘Big Bee’ mural

It’s been a while since I schmoozed the news  so let’s give it a whirl

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Ellen Futterman, Editor-in-Chief

In 2018, Jewish identical twins and local entrepreneurs Jeff and Randy Vines, owners of STL-Style at 3159 Cherokee Street, contracted with father-daughter artists Robert and Liza Fishbone, to paint a new, full-scale mural on the side of their shop.

Well, the Vine brothers, who grew up in Creve Coeur and celebrated their bar mitzvahs at Shaare Emeth, have collaborated with the Fishbones again, this time in Clayton’s DeMun neighborhood, where Robert, who is a member of Central Reform Congregation, and Liza will paint a 33’-wide-by-22’-high mural on a blank wall of a commercial building overlooking DeMun Park, located at the corner of Southwood and Demun avenues. It will be the first public art mural ever created in the city of Clayton.

“We have been working hard for over two years to navigate the various governmental departments, committees and private entities involved, and I’m happy to report that we finally received all necessary approvals to make this project a reality,” said Jeff Vines, when he contacted the Jewish Light last week. “We are currently in the fundraising phase and aim to have the mural completed this summer.”

Vines also shared a picture from 1945, showing the view of DeMun Avenue near Southwood, looking north.

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“The small building on the right (now the site of DeMun Park) was an Orthodox synagogue called Beth Tephilah that served a small but close-knit Orthodox Jewish community in the neighborhood,” he explained. “The synagogue was torn down in 1972 and has been a park ever since.”

The proposed mural for the park, tentatively named the “Big Bee,” is being designed “with children and parents in mind,” according to the city of Clayton’s website. “(It is) meant to draw attention to play and become a selfie icon for generations visiting the neighborhood park.”

Vines explained that the Clayton Community Foundation is sponsoring the mural, hoping to raise the needed $40,000. The money will not only pay the artists but also go to ready the building for the mural and pay for annual maintenance. Donations can be made at Clayton Community Foundation: DeMun Park Mural (scroll down to “restricted gift” and check that box).

As Vines explained, “We’ve been thrilled with the response so far but still need additional donations to reach our funding goal.”