BELOIT, Wisc., (SPECTRUM NEWS) -- Standing at just 5'2", with two new hips, a talented Rock County native uses her skill with the paint-brush and boom lift to restore an old mural in downtown Beloit.
"I’m healthy and strong and I've always been a hard worker, so I definitely have the determination to make it happen and get it done," Kathy Piccione says.
Over the last six weeks, Piccione has faced death-defying heights and used gallons and gallons of acrylic paint to bring back century-old advertisements— located on the side of what once was an old grocery store. She says because the brick wasn't in great shape— it made it a challenging, but exciting, opportunity.
"So I had to come in and actually figure out what was there without ever really knowing entirely what was there, piecing it together. And you can see that with old photos, there wasn't a whole lot left of it," she says.
Piccione says along the way she learned a few secrets about one of the advertisers, Galvanic Soap.
"We found out that they are the precursor to Palmolive Soap. So, and I'm assuming possibly because the names are Johnson, it could be from Johnson & Johnson. So we're, we're kind of guessing at some of that but it's kind of an interesting little tidbit of history there," she says.
The artist who spent years living in the Southwest designing murals and other incredible oil paintings says this project was perhaps her most sentimental.
"The fact that, you know, my family came here a long time ago, my mother's side and my father's side my grandparents came from Sicily and I think about them, they were probably here about the time this was being done, and my grandpa worked at Fairbanks right over here and I think they probably saw this work being done 100 hundred years ago," Piccione says. "So it's part of my history, it's part of my family being from here. And I'm very proud to be doing this, this restoration in my hometown."
Piccione says she also did the labor of love project to help her friend, the building's owner, Peter Gabriel. His new restaurant La Casa Grande opens soon in that space. Gabriel says he is beyond pleased with the results.
"Kathy did a really nice job and brought it back," Gabriel says.
You can learn more about Piccione and her work, here.