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Vince’s store – Mural Society starts tours, downtown store

Lance Kamstra, left, and Tami Biamont are dedicating a portion of Kamstra’s office to the Silverton Mural Society. Located in the Hartman Building, Vince’s Mural Store opens July 1.
Lance Kamstra, left, and Tami Biamont are dedicating a portion of Kamstra’s office to the Silverton Mural Society. Located in the Hartman Building, Vince’s Mural Store opens July 1.

By Brenna Wiegand

Silverton Mural Society is getting a big shot in the arm through efforts led by local businessman Lance Kamstra.

He would be quick to tell you it wasn’t him but God who orchestrated it all; he’s just remaining faithful.

Every year the mural society has struggled for the funds needed to maintain the town’s 29 murals, let alone commission new ones. The current brochures lack the most recent murals and include outdated ads.

The first of this year Kamstra felt a pull to help. In January he was approved as Silverton Mural Society’s volunteer development director. The “job” included putting together a fund-raising game plan which now includes a downtown store.

He started talking to the downtown business community, offering three levels of sponsorship. By April’s end he had secured more than $16,000 in annual support, including 21 at the “Champion” level ($500 each), and picking up many other sponsors and individual members in the process.

“With that money we can revise and print our brochures, maintain our current murals and get to work on two more,” Kamstra said.

He streamlined his business hours and started looking for a personal assistant who could assist him in his Profitable Planning Inc. insurance business Monday through Thursday and develop and run a downtown mural store Fridays, Saturdays and holiday Mondays.

Vince’s Mural Store, named after long-time Silverton resident and former Mural Society president Vince Till – who dedicated 27 years of his life to the society – opens July 1. It occupies a previously  unused section of Kamstra’s office in the Hartman Building.

On Easter Sunday Kamstra received an email from teacher Tami Biamont, whose private school closed at the end of this school year.

“God gave me a vision on Easter Sunday, and it’s been miracle after miracle after miracle taking place,” Kamstra said. “Approval from the mural society and my landlord and finding Tami – all of this happened within days.”

Now that school’s out, Biamont can turn her full attention to the store, to be run by volunteers with all proceeds going to the mural society.

Biamont is beefing up the scant inventory with more Bobbie books, mugs, T-shirts, mural prints, postcards – items visitors can purchase to remind them of their trip to Silverton and locals can use to express their love for the town and its murals.

“We don’t want our beautiful murals to go to pot but without proper maintenance that’s what will happen,” Biamont said. “Between artists’ time and materials, it takes real money to maintain them.

“I am also looking for people around town who may have photos, posters and such items from past Silverton events, such as Homer Days and Bobbie the Dog celebrations so we can create a wall of memorabilia at the store,” she said.

“Every year the mural society worries about money and now having enough to get all the murals fixed and carry out other plans… it is wonderful how the town is stepping up to sponsor them,” Biamont said. “Right now, it’s going to be small, but who knows what will happen?”

One thing is a green light for two murals in the queue.

The family of recently deceased Dr. Olwyn Davies has commissioned a mural to memorialize Davies’ 65-year practice as a Silverton GP, to be placed on Dr. Kendall Pyper’s Oak Street dental office.

The other will depict the historic Fischer’s Flour Mill and be situated on the Silver Falls Library building near its original site.

“I’ve also started a vicious rumor that the new Silverton Civic Center needs a mural of Eugene Field School which stood in that place for more than 100 years,” Kamstra added.

Now that the business community involvement is well under way – 60 strong – Kamstra can turn his focus to developing a solid, consistent program to provide guided mural tours.

“I’ve been recruiting ‘Mural Ambassadors’ who will lead the tours in a way that makes everybody feel good,” he said.

These ambassadors allow the society to offer four free guided mural tours each weekend. They’ll conclude at Vince’s Mural Store, where folks can purchase memorabilia and hopefully become members.

“I’ll say conservatively that we are in the process of creating a $25,000 annual funding source that will maintain the current murals and propagate more,” Kamstra said.

“I just want to do all the stuff God put in my head for a game plan and every piece of it is coming to an amazing crescendo,” Kamstra said. “It’s starting to seem more likely that we’ll have more than 500 members by the end of the year.”

Kamstra has more than just a knack for fund raising. He spent eight years of volunteer time raising funds for Canyonview Camp, where he developed a deep respect for camp co-founder and director Dale Price – “Buzzard,” as he was known to countless campers until his death in 2011.

There’s still a room in Kamstra’s office which is in the process of becoming Buzzard’s Books, for which used book donations are needed. The books, CDs and other materials will be free with a donation, all proceeds slated for fulfilling Price’s dream of building a prayer chapel at Canyonview Camp.

“We’re honoring the legacy of two men greatly loved by the community,” Kamstra said. “It’s a great responsibility but I love every second of it.”

Vince’s Mural Store

220 S Water St., Silverton

Fridays, Saturdays 10 am – 4 pm; until 7 pm on First Fridays

Mural Tours, duration 45 minutes: Fridays, 7 pm; Saturdays 10 am, 1:30 and 4 pm; . Gather at Easel Art, corner of First & Main.

To help: Become a member, donate funds, goods or time. Annual memberships, $20.


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