Orphan Train Mural

The long term product of the Starting a New Life: Dowagiac’s Orphan Train Story will be a mural on the Pennsylvania Street side of the Dowagiac Post Office. Ruth Andrews is designing the mural and will lead the execution of the work. This will be a community-wide project and we welcome residents to help paint the mural. After the wall has been cleaned and prepared in early May, we will begin scheduling helpers.

About the Artist
Ruth Andrews began her artistic career as an experimental filmmaker in Chicago in the early 1970s. Her work was included in film festivals throughout the Midwest and in 1974, Incumbent Mama was screened at Cannes. Early indoor murals were made for Oaklawn Center and Elkhart General Hospital. Ruth’s award-winning paintings and sculpture have been exhibited at the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival, Art Prize in Grand Rapids, the Kalamazoo Institute of Art and other venues. In 2010 Ruth teamed up with Steve Arseneau, Marty Kaszar and others to create a 3,000-sq. ft. outdoor mural about the 1847 Kentucky Raid, located in the heart of Cassopolis.

Ruth became interested in the Orphan Train when her Michigan History Day students selected it as their project in 2016. She is delighted to be working with Steve, Marty, and Bobbie Jo Hartline again. “The first Orphan Train didn’t come to Dowagiac by accident. Charles Loring Brace and Rev. Clark Olmstead believed the people of Dowagiac would make it work. They were right! I hope the people of Dowagiac are proud of this story and will be proud of the mural.”

Interested in Helping Paint the Mural?
If you are interested in helping paint the mural, the museum will be setting a schedule for Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 7:30-9:30 a.m. and Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:30 p.m. We can only accommodate three volunteers per day– please do not show up to paint without being scheduled. To be scheduled, please fill out the Volunteer Painting Sign Up and the Volunteer Release (please note that the fillable PDF may not work in Firefox), save and email to museum@dowagiac.org or print and return to the Dowagiac Area History Museum at P.O. Box 430, Dowagiac, MI 49047. Feel free to contact the museum at 269.783.2560 or museum@dowagiac.org with questions. 


Follow the Mural Progress

We will continue to update this page to show the progress on the Orphan Train Mural at the Dowagiac Branch of the United States Post Office. This is a terrific community project that helps promote the humanities!