Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino, Councilwoman Michele Johnson, Councilman Louis Imbroto, County Legislator Rose Marie Walker, County Legislator Laura Schaefer, Hicksville School Board President Phillip Heckler and Executive Director of the Oyster Bay Historical Society Denice Evans-Sheppard today announced joint efforts to save the G. Hunter Jones mural located on the wall in the Hicksville Sears store since the 1960s. Sears recently announced plans to close its doors in April, leaving the fate of the massive rendering in jeopardy.
“We thank Seritage Growth Properties for their commitment to funding the feasibility study needed to determine how the mural can best be saved,” said Supervisor Saladino. “The Sears mural is a piece of our town’s history and has great meaning to the Hicksville community. Our combined efforts will ensure the mural’s preservation for generations to come and our desire for it to remain here in the Town of Oyster Bay.”
Seritage Growth Properties, a real estate investment trust, owns the 26-acre site where the Hicksville Sears is located and has committed to funding a feasibility study to determine how to best save the artwork. While a future home for the mural is yet undecided, the Town of Oyster Bay and Hicksville School District have identified several locations for the artwork to remain in the areas.
“When the opportunity to preserve history presents itself, you have to take definitive action. You may not get a second chance,” said Councilwoman Johnson. “Sears is slated to be closed in April and we are determined to make sure this mural is protected and resituated in Hicksville or the Town of Oyster Bay. We thank Sears for their commitment to preserving the G. Hunter Jones mural.”
The oil-painted mural depicts a historical map of Long Island along with portraits of famous residents, such as Walt Whitman, Henry Hudson, John Roebling, Peter Stuyvesant, John Underhill and Theodore Roosevelt. The work also includes a detailed map of Long Island and a timeline of importantly significant dates and events. G. Hunter Jones, a prolific Manhattan-based artist, spent nearly two decades traveling the nation to localize the sprawling department stores with his oil paintings.
Legislator Walker added, “Over the years, this mural had become very important to the fabric of the community. Many residents have expressed their emotional attachment to the piece, equating it with decades of shopping with their families in a landmark destination. I’m proud to join efforts with Supervisor Saladino and the community to save this important piece of Hicksville’s history.”
The Town of Oyster Bay has evaluated its properties to determine a future home for the 20′ x 15′ mural. The artwork’s new home must be suitable to accommodate the large mural and be accessible for public viewing and such opportunities include the Hicksville Athletic Center, Bethpage Ice Skating Center, The Life Enrichment Center at Oyster Bay and Hicksville High School.
“The G. Hunter Jones mural is an important part of our history in the Town of Oyster Bay and provides residents insight to our local history and geography,” said Councilman Imbroto. “The mural must be saved for future generations to enjoy and it should remain here in the Town of Oyster Bay.”
Seritage Growth Properties has expressed a desire to work with local officials to save the mural, but have also stated that entities from East Hampton and Islip have expressed interest in providing a future home for the artwork. Elected officials and local community leaders oppose any and all efforts to move the mural outside the Town of Oyster Bay.
—Submitted by Town of Oyster Bay