Kelli Bickman’s mural depicting Rocky the Christmas owl was installed Friday, April 21 on the side of the building that houses Bluestone Coffee Roasters on Partition Street in Saugerties.
That was not its intended location.
The mural was to have been installed on a building on Main Street owned by Bonnie and Cliff Tienken, just across the street from Bickman’s mural on the Odd Fellows Building. As it turned out, the slope of the roof and the size of the space made it impossible to install the mural, painted on plywood panels, there.
The village had a full crew of workers and a 60-foot boom on the scene, “so we were determined to find a new location fast,” Bickman stated in an email. After they canvassed local businesses and building owners in the area, Michael Persico of Bluestone Coffee Roasters offered the side of his building at 138 Partition Street. Crew and equipment moved to the new location and had the mural in place that day. In her quest for a building, “I ran up and down the street with some of the DPW [Department of Public Works] guys, we knocked on doors, made phone calls and after a few rejections we landed on the new location, which was absolutely perfect.” Mayor Bill Murphy then called Persico, who was enthusiastic and said yes. “Turns out he also has an affinity toward owls, as he rehabilitated one in his back yard,” Bickman stated in her email.
Bickman began working on the mural in November. The Town of Saugerties opened its heart to the small Saw Whet owl that was perched in the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in 2020. The owl, somewhat the worse for wear after its journey to New York City, was sent to the Ravensbeard Rehabilitation Center in Saugerties, where it recovered and was eventually released. Among the guests last Saturday was Ellen Kalish, the director of Ravensbeard.