Each year, the Ripley Lion's Club holds a Fourth of July Festival to raise money for its various charitable endeavors.
This year the club, along with the Ripley Leo Club, took it a step further, commissioning artist John L. Ward of Mount Sterling, (originally of Ripley), to create a painting in celebration of Ripley's 200 year bicentennial. The prints are being sold as a fundraiser.
In a release, Ward said, "I was quite honored to be asked to paint a picture of my hometown. I have very fond memories of Ripley and as a youngster spent many hours on the riverfront."
Ward, selected by the club because of his roots, highlights Ripley's Front Street in his watercolor. Howard McClain, member of the Lion's Club, said the group had suggested the artist try to depict the heart of downtown Ripley in his work. By painting the riverfront, Ward was able to do just that.
"It says Ripley," McClain said.
Though the painting portrays modern day Ripley, it also highlights several places of historical significance, including the Rankin House and the Parker House, both of which played important roles in the abolitionist movement.
Two hundred and fifty prints of Ward's painting were made. the painting can be seen in the Ripley library and several area banks, and will be available for purchase at the Fourth of July Festival scheduled June 29 and 30 on Front Street in Ripley. Ward will attend the festival June 30, and will sign his works 2-4 p.m.
Prints are available of Ripley, Ohio Bicentennial.