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What had been a flat, gray wall at the top of an office building stairway in West Toledo has become a visitor-stopping mural of the downtown Toledo skyline with other city landmarks interspersed.
Although they aren't geographically accurate on the wall, Salvatore Schiciano has included in his mural nearly every architectural detail in buildings from the University of Toledo campus, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Toledo Zoo, and other well-known sites.
Mr. Schiciano's talent is also evident in miniature recreations of old-master paintings he has whimsically included in the cityscape he is painting along the second-floor of the Savage and Associates offices on Talmadge Road.
The idea of decorating the wall with a mural was Dan Steinberg's, a co-president of the firm and a member of the Ottawa Hills Board of Education.
Mr. Steinberg was tired of looking at the drab wall. During office remodeling, a planned glass wall was shot down by building inspectors, so he began thinking of other ways to liven up the wall.
Mr. Steinberg said he was aware of the artistic talent of Mr. Schiciano, 22, a graduate of Ottawa Hills High School, and asked a year ago if he would be interested in taking on the job of painting a mural highlighting the downtown and city landmarks.
He also asked him to include the logos of local charities with which the financial services company has ties.
It became Mr. Schiciano's summer job.
It is nearing completion and the artist, paint-spattered and in stocking feet, alternates between reaching high or getting on his knees to add finishing details to the mural.
Although it has sometimes taken up to 12 hours a day, Mr. Schiciano said he loves painting. Other than the broad direction for what the company wanted, he has been allowed to paint the mural as he wants it.
That includes the whimsy of a Roman statue on the steps of the art museum, and placing cardinals on the shrubbery that lines the Maumee River.
Not to mention the two giraffes that look over much of the scene from a zoo enclosure.
Mr. Schiciano has finished his third year of study at Cleveland Institute of the Arts and will spend the next year studying painting in Florence, Italy.
He then will return to Cleveland to finish his studies.
Mr. Schiciano plans to continue his studies at least for a master's degree and get a position teaching art as well as continuing with his own painting.
The mural seems to vibrate with the brightness of its colors - a heightened effect after learning that Mr. Schiciano is color blind.
He said it never dulled his interest in painting and credits teachers with showing him how to mix shades to achieve a resulting color.
"It's almost done mechanically,'' he said, but agreed that the process could result in colors that are more vibrant than usual.