It is by far the biggest mural to go up on Main Street yet.

For the past week, several local artists with the ArtBeat group have been hard at work painting a massive mural on the rear wall of the Sawmill Theatres.

The 26-foot-by-40-foot mural pays homage to what once stood on the spot — a working sawmill.

Owen Brothers Lumber and then Kaibab Lumber Company operated the sawmill between 1951 and 1993 on the southwest corner of Main Street and the Beeline Highway. Today, Gordon Whiting, president of Kaibab Industries, owns the Sawmill Crossing complex.

After the sawmill closed in 1993, Whiting had a theater built along with retail space.

Minette Hart, with the Main Street Merchants Guild, said soon after they built the complex, she asked Whiting to do something with the rear wall, which faces Main Street.

“It is a big, beige box,” she said. “It needed help.”

Just this past year, Hart has helped add splashes of color all along Main Street. She worked on the mural on Rim Country Flowers, the mural on the fence across from Canal Senior Apartments and the crosswalk at McLane and Main.

After working with Whiting, Hart, who is with the ArtBeat group, agreed to replicate an image of the sawmill on the back wall. The exact picture has hung in the lobby of the movie theater for years.

The color theme for the mural is muted — mostly browns, blacks, grays and beige — to replicate the old photograph. To emphasize this, artists will add rolled corners to the mural. Along with Hart, Elizabeth Fowler and April Bower are painting while Judy Holbrook is assisting. Donn Morris created a drawing of the photograph that the artists are working from.

The mural will cover half of the massive wall.

Work started Oct. 18 and should wrap up Saturday.

The Town of Payson covered the cost of the lift rental for the first week, Payson Rental donated three more days and Whiting is paying for any additional days, Hart said.

Hart said the goal is to paint a mural on the other half of the wall, but that is down the line.

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