Richland art club takes time to restore city's army of toy soldiers

·1 min read

Oct. 9—The Richland School District Art Club spent Saturday afternoon repainting and repairing large-scale toy soldiers that line the streets and fill Central Park in downtown Johnstown during the Christmas season.

Club President Taylor Steigert, 17, was among the dozen students repainting the soldiers.

"Now people when people come visit the town, they will see it looking better," she said.

Repairing the army of 24 toy soldiers is the latest project in the club's years-long relationship with the nonprofit Discover Downtown Johnstown Partnership.

Richland art teacher and club advisor Martha Ringler noted that downtown Johnstown has become a destination during Christmas ever since Discover Downtown Johnstown started the tradition seven years ago of placing a 36-foot-tall Christmas Tree in Central Park.

"We want to be a part of making it beautiful and alive," she said. "Just because we don't live downtown, that doesn't mean we can't help out and volunteer to help beautify our whole region."

Ringler said the club plans to have all of the soldiers painted by next week.

The Discover Downtown Johnstown Partnership has plans to roll out holiday decorations for the downtown area in November, said the organization's president, Melissa Radovanic.

"We are excited to be entering into the seventh year of the Christmas Tree @ Central Park programming," she said. "We intend to bring back all of our Christmas events that did not happen in 2020 due to the pandemic."

She said the downtown Johnstown's Christmas events will begin Nov. 19 with a Hometown Christmas Stroll followed by a light-up ceremony.

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