Popular artist creates Hannah Roberts mural in downtown Buchanan
Published 1:31 pm Friday, September 23, 2022
BUCHANAN — Downtown Buchanan is now the canvas for an exciting mural project.
Internationally recognized artist Jeff Zimmermann is bringing his talent to the 100-by-15-foot north wall of Honor Credit Union. Zimmermann is creating the mural to celebrate the achievements of Buchanan’s hometown hero and BMX World Champion and Olympic Medalist Hannah Roberts.
Zimmermann began the project on Monday which has been in planning for over a year. Buchanan Community Development Director Richard Murphy said the seed for the project was planted during a “the world’s biggest Olympic watch party” in the Buchanan Common last year, where Hannah’s family, along with most of Buchanan, was in front of a jumbotron television watching Hannah represent the United States and bring home the Silver Medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
“How could we feel this tremendous feeling of community pride all year long?” Murphy asked.
He reached out to Honor Credit Union in Downtown Buchanan and building owners, Bill and Debra Marx. and everybody immediately loved the idea. Getting permission from Hannah and her family and finding a great artist were the next steps. Local sponsors came forward to help fund the project including Honor Credit Union and Michigan Gateway Foundation, and the Buchanan City Commission voted unanimously to support the project. Other private donors helped fill the gap.
Murphy pitched the mural idea to artist Jeff Zimmermann, an accomplished artist who has worked on large mural installations all over the country and the world. Zimmermann who has Michigan connections paired up a family visit with doing the project in Buchanan.
“I’ve been visiting Michigan my whole life since I was a little kid,” Zimmermann said on Friday. “Getting some of my art in this neck of the woods was appealing to me right off the bat. But when I heard about the scope of the project, I knew it was something I wanted to do. Buchanan is a cool little town and I’m honored to be able to capture Hannah’s spirit in this mural.”
According to Murphy, the project has been well-received by many local Buchanan art critics. Murphy said that Zimmermann and Hannah met on site to discuss the concept and they really hit it off. The mural, among other things, depicts a special moment in Hannah’s BMX freestyle career, being the first female on the planet to land a 360-tail whip in competition. Murphy said this special moment represents Hannah’s trailblazing spirit.
“We are so excited about this project. It is a celebration of community pride and carries such a positive message.” Murphy said. “Hannah is bringing her positive message to all of Buchanan and across the country, that if you work hard enough and put your mind to it, you can go from the small town to the world stage.”
The mural is set to be completed in two weeks and will be enjoyed by Buchanan for the next few years.
“We hope this will be a good luck charm to Hannah as she looks to compete again in the Paris Olympic Games in 2024,” Murphy said.