COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Several months ago, passersby would stop and gawk at several dozen llamas grazing along US-40 on a Galloway farm bordering West Jefferson. Now, Kris and Russ Miller’s property is home to another spectacle.
“People stop all the time and pull up alongside the road to watch the llamas,” Kris Miller said. “Now they’re stopping right out here and looking at the silo, then they move on down and look at the llamas. So now they have two things to look at.”
The silo stands 44-feet tall, with a 77-foot circumference. The size is now more noticeable with the recent addition of an American flag and an enormous eagle painted on the facade.
“It’s so different and it’s something no one around here has ever seen,” Kris Miller said.
The patriotic image is the second ‘Freedom Silo’ commissioned by muralist Raine Clotfelter. He spent nearly eight weeks in Madison County, planning, prepping, and painting for as many hours as the weather allowed.
“We’ve had a lot of rain,” Clotfelter said. “So [it took] about 34 days’ worth of work.”
The artist dedicated a similar project in 2020 on an old silo in Monett, Missouri. Russ Miller’s sister saw the project and suggested her brother similarly transform his own property.
Kris Miller admits she thought the idea was wild at first, and soon warmed to the concept.
“Then he started showing me pictures and I was all for it, too,” she said.
Clotfelter, an Iraqi War veteran who spent more than two decades with the U.S. Navy, is known as ‘America’s Muralist’ and commonly incorporates patriotic themes into his artwork.
“My family all has military backgrounds and we just kind of grew up with patriotism in our country. And I’d just like to see it keep going,” he said.
Clotfelter’s Central Ohio mural generated buzz in nearby West Jefferson. Downtown sits one mile from the Miller property and several area businesses, along with the town trustees, agreed to commission the muralist for more projects.
“I think it’ll draw some attention down there,” Miller said. “They need some attention down there.”
The specifics about the two in-town murals have not been widely shared, and town trustees said one will include West Jefferson’s history and another will focus on patriotism.
Some commenting on Clotfelter’s work and the Millers’ silo said the timing seems appropriate. It comes shortly after the death of 13 American service members in an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, and shortly before the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
“There’s so much going on in the world right now. And this got finished at a really, really good time, I think,” Miller said. “Every time you look at it, you smile. And that’s what you need. It’s what we all need.”
Clotfelter and his wife were driving home to Missouri Wednesday, and the couple plans to return to Madison County for the West Jefferson projects in several weeks. They hope to complete at least one of the murals before warm weather runs out.