City officials were debating on whether to spend $1,000 on the project that has been heavily promoted throughout the area by Walker County Arts Alliance board member Sharon Hogg.
After Councilor Ricky Thomas proposed that the city contribute $500 and find five local donors to contribute $100 apiece, officials decided to table the matter until the Council’s next meeting on May 3.
Until then, Mayor Petey Ellis said he will seek out individuals who may be willing to pitch in toward the project.
When asked by Councilor Phil Fowler how the project will benefit Sumiton, Ellis described the art project as “a quality of living thing.” However, he added, “What we receive directly from it, I couldn’t say.”
If city officials decide to pony up for the project, they will receive a life-size fiberglass mule, which they will be able to decorate to their liking.
When Hogg appeared before the Jasper City Council recently, she said her idea stemmed from a similar campaign she had witnessed in Seattle, Wash., in which reproductions of pigs were used in a similar fashion.
She also said mules are significant to the area because of the role they played in the local mining and agricultural industries.
WCAA is a non-profit organization established to support and develop the arts in Walker County, as well as to enhance the public’s appreciation for and awareness of the arts as an expression of the best of the human spirit.
While hesitant about displaying the mule, city officials had no objections regarding an offer from Adrian Gwin who has an oil painting of his grandfather P.E. Gwin, the first mayor of Sumiton, that he wishes to donate to the city.
Ellis said the portrait will be displayed “in a prominent place in city hall.”
Also during Tuesday’s meeting of the Sumiton City Council, officials took the following actions:
•Discussed a request from Birmingham Business Alliance, which is requesting $3,000 to assist a five-year strategic plan for the seven counties represented by the BBA;
•Voted to give city employees the day off Friday in conjunction with Good Friday;
•Adopted a proclamation by Gov. Robert Bentley proclaiming May 5 as National Day of Prayer;
•Designated May 2-8 as Children’s Book Week and discussed a plea from Sumiton Public Library for children’s book donations; and
•Discussed the state’s annual mining rescue competition.