By Maureen Robertson
Grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nephews and other relatives of the late Ramona artist Louise Shidner were
among the estimated 50 people at Saturday morning’s celebration of Ramona Chamber of Commerce’s mural depicting historic commerce on the town’s Main Street.
The mural, measuring 10 feet by 30 feet, is a reproduction of Shidner’s 1978 painting showing her father, Daniel McIntosh Jr., driving one of his horse-drawn freight wagons past stores in the 700 block of Main Street in the early 1900s.
“I worked there as a kid...stocked shelves,” said lifelong Ramona resident Ralph McIntosh as he, his wife Roberta and his brother Doug admired the mural before the ceremony.
Louise Shidner was Aunt Louise to the McIntosh brothers.
Her grandson, Guy Shidner, thanked mural artists Mark Martensen and Bob Teague, saying, “you brought it to life.”
“This is the true chamber of commerce, this type of pioneer work ethic,” Guy said as he pointed to the reproduction of his grandmother’s painting on the wall of Affordable Treasures at 677 Main St. “This is the foundation of this town.”
The mural is the third of Ramona H.E.A.R.T. Mural Project’s vision of at least 30 murals in Ramona’s commercial
“It’s an economic and art effort,” said Elaine Lyttleton, project president, explaining that the goal is “to get people to stop in town.”
The fourth mural, planned at Ramona Music Center, was $900 shy of its cost until Ramona resident Kim Lasley, co-owner of Kritter Kamp, wrote a check for $500 at the event, Judy Nachazel, mural project board member, said.
Lyttleton challenged those present to find the four hearts that are incorporated into the mural.
Before he spoke, Guy touched his grandmother’s name on the mural and said, “I found the first heart. Without her, we wouldn’t be here.”
He shared his grandmother’s love of Ramona. She was born Oct. 5, 1920, on Ramona Street, he said, and died Jan. 24, 2006. She never was in an airplane and may have made it to the California/Arizona border once, he said, noting that “she really enjoyed the humble roots of Ramona.”
She painted her 12 paintings of the town from 1978 to 1983, and they are in a museum he’s built on the Shidner property on Elm Street.
“You can’t know where you’re going till you’ve seen where you’ve been,” he repeated several times as he told the group about his grandmother, her family and earlier days in Ramona.
Reflecting on what art represents to the artist, he said his grandmother had four loves:
•Love of God,
•Love of Family,
•Love of Town, and
•Love of Her roots.
“Her contribution to the town was her artwork,” he said.
The acronym H.E.A.R.T. reflects Ramona as the geographic center of San Diego County and the character of the community, states the project’s website, ramonamurals.com: “H” for Historic and Hiking, “E” for Equine, “A” for Arts, Antiques and Agriculture, “R” for scenic rural vistas and drives, and “T” for Tasting of fine wines.
Stephanie Norvell, also a mural project board member, invited everyone to the group’s next fundraiser, a golf tournament at San
Vicente Resort on March 29.
Lyttleton talked about the second annual Ramona Art & Wine Festival scheduled for Nov. 1 at the Amy Strong Castle at Mount Woodson in Ramona. The first festival in November 2013 was more of a success than organizers had anticipated, she said. They had hoped to sell 225 tickets and sold 245, and they had hoped just to break even, but netted $12,600 for the mural project.