A mural that used to reside in the former Sears store in Hicksville has found a new home in the Town of Oyster Bay Hicksville Athletic Center, officials said at an unveiling Friday.
The mural, which depicts Long Island and several famous Long Islanders, had hung in the store since the 1960s. When the store announced its closing early this year, the community shared a concern for the familiar mural that has been a part of the town for decades, Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said.
The mural was created by Manhattan-based artist G. Hunter Jones, who put together artwork for Sears stores across the country. Each piece captures aspects of the town it would reside in.
“This has been a very important project and we’re so happy to preserve this important piece of art to educate our children for many generations, and to protect an important icon for Hicksville,” Saladino said.
The new location was chosen so that everyone in the public can enjoy it, Saladino said.
“Think about the number of children who come through this building, that can now appreciate the history lesson that is learned by looking and reading all the information on this piece of art,” he said.
Manhattan-based Seritage Growth Properties, a real estate investment trust and new owners of the former Sears store at the Broadway Mall, partnered with the Town of Oyster Bay to pay for the $30,000 removal, restoration and reinstallation of the mural.
Representatives of Seritage, which has preserved other murals, said this one in particular has an important historical significance because of its depictions of icons such as President Theodore Roosevelt and Walt Whitman.
“As someone who is from Long Island I can appreciate it in a way that if you’re not from Long Island you wouldn’t be able to,” Larry Rose of Seritage said.
Materials Conservation, a Philadelphia-based company, carried out the restoration and reinstallation processes. There are two basketball hoops right near the mural so part of the work included making sure it would hold up in an area that sees a lot of traffic. The 9-foot-by-16-foot piece is now in a wooden frame with Styrofoam backing and a urethane finish.
“Not only does this beautiful historic mural belong in Oyster Bay, but we know it should stay right here in its home, in our beloved Hicksville,” Saladino said.