WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – An empty wall on The Bridge Tavern in Downtown Wheeling is beginning to burst with color and the history of artists who have come before. 

It’s been only a few days of work, and it’s already getting the attention of those passing by. 

”Hopefully it inspires other musicians and artists in the Valley to bring their talents and start doing their own work.”

Drew Gonchoff – Studio Artist & Graphic Designer

Drew Gonchoff is a local artist of over 10 years and jumped at the opportunity to apply for the Wheeling Arts & Cultural Commission’s newest location of their mural program.  

One of his biggest inspirations is the historic “Wheeling Jamboree” and his design concept intends to portray that history for all to see, eventually complete with working lights to be admired at all hours of the day. 

”Here is the design for the mural. We wanted to incorporate the old WWVA logo in there. This is like the original font that they used. I mean, they’ve been a working broadcast since 1933, so we’re going to have that in there. And then these are the musicians. They don’t represent anybody specifically, but they are they are conceptualized after artists that have been at the Wheeling Jamboree.”

Drew Gonchoff – Studio Artist & Graphic Designer

The nameless artists can represent whoever YOUR inspirations are – and everyone’s are different. 

”There’s been countless names. Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Ronnie Milsap. These are just some of the ones who inspired me. These figures don’t really represent these artists, but it’s so that someone can look at the artists and conceptualize it for themselves and make and connect their own musicians to it.”

Drew Gonchoff – Studio Artist & Graphic Designer

The Wheeling Jamboree is the second oldest country music program behind the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, but its message is timeless. 

”I’m sure a lot of these artists had to go through their trials and tribulations of having to learn as they go along in their own craft. And I’m doing the same thing as well. I’m learning as I’m painting and always discovering new ideas, new techniques. A lot of those artists, I mean, they’ve inspired me a lot lately. They inspire my art. They inspire just the way I live my life. And it’s good to have such positive role models as an influence and as an artist.”

Drew Gonchoff – Studio Artist & Graphic Designer

If you find yourself by The Bridge Tavern, stop and look at Drew’s progress and gain some instrumental inspiration to carry on this historic legacy made new.