There's something new on the Johnny Cash Trail. The Donor Wall has been installed near the overpass bridge to celebrate the trail's biggest fans.
On May 12, 2017, Johnny Cash Trail contributors were invited out to a dedication ceremony where the Donor Wall was unveiled for the first time. During the ceremony, supporters had the opportunity to pick the placement of their plaques and actually have a hand at putting their plaques on the newly installed wall.
Five corten steel walls of varying heights display the names of the individuals, families, and organizations who’ve contributed to the trail.
The Donor Wall was designed and fabricated by Johnny Cash Trail artist Adan Romo, but the Donor Wall is not an official trail art piece. Rather, the wall is a celebration of the people who are are enthusiastically bringing this project to life.
Adan Romo wanted to create a “nice, thoughtful piece” that would celebrate and draw attention to the project before the sculptures came out to the trail. Romo was at the dedication ceremony to introduce his piece.
“This is the donor wall. It’s about eight-feet tall and fourteen-feet wide. It’s made of corten steel which is a nice material that ages well; it has a nice patina and grit. The material alone is a nice personification of Johnny Cash. It represents his music and his connection to industrial America.”
The Donor Wall encapsulates all of the little details that will come to the trail. The corten steel used on the Donor Wall, for example, is the same material used on the adjacent Johnny Cash Trail overpass bridge.
Romo has selected the same material to be used in many of the trail art pieces he designed to honor the legacy of Johnny Cash and the City of Folsom.
“It’s a special opportunity to give something back to the City of Folsom and to Johnny Cash and his music,” Romo said about the early contributors to the trail. “Fans all over the world are really moved by Cash, his music, and his legacy… this is a way for those fans to be a part of this story.”
The Johnny Cash Trail may be garnering attention from Cash fans all over the world, but the trail means even more for those closest to home.
Janet Harnick is one trail supporter who was in attendance for the Donor Wall dedication ceremony. To Janet, it’s a “memorial wall” and her plaque a symbol honoring the life of her husband and their last moments together.
On March 1, 2015, Janet Harnick and her husband Phil were together on the Johnny Cash Trail. Janet was walking the trail on foot and Phil was riding his bike. At one of the trail’s inclines, Phil passed Janet. As he rode past his wife up the hill, Phil looked back over his shoulder at Janet and smiled.
It was the last time she would see her husband alive.
At the end of his ride, Phil Harnick had a heart attack and never recovered. Janet’s last memories of her husband are here on the trail.
Putting a plaque on the Donor Wall in memory of her husband was an easy decision for Janet to make. Harnick’s friends and family were all-too-willing to contribute and help her get the plaque in honor of Phil.
Janet will always have a special place in her heart for the Johnny Cash Trail and is enthusiastic about what’s coming next. She’s excited to see the sculptures and even more so about the Johnny Cash Legacy Park. She plans on encouraging other people to get a plaque while they can.
“I love how far the trail goes and the significance of the trail and the project… for people to remember Johnny Cash and the impact he had on a community and putting Folsom on the map,” said Harnick.
“But for my family and friends, it’s a place to remember a great father, husband, and son.”
The Harnick memorial plaque will be seen by everyone who uses the trail for a long, long time. The steel plaques are made to last; weather and time may change the patina and appearance of the material, but the wall and its plaques have become a permanent part of the trail.
Other plaques proudly display the names of project supporters within the community, like the plaque donated by the Folsom Teen Council. The youth club used funds it had earned through volunteering and events and decided that donating a plaque was the perfect way to support and give back to the Folsom community.
Proceeds from the plaques are going to fund the first two art pieces on the trail - Cash’s Picks, a pair of seven-feet tall black bronze guitar picks emblazoned with Cash’s signature to mark the beginning and end of the trail.
The Donor Wall is an impressive piece that can be seen from the road and read by trail goers. There’s room for plenty of plaques, and ample opportunity for fans of Folsom, Cash, and the trail project to make their names, quotes, or names of their organizations a permanent part of the Johnny Cash Trail.
But the wall does have its limits and the opportunity to purchase a plaque is short-lived. The wall is filling quickly and eventually every available space will be filled.
If you want to purchase a plaque and become a part of Folsom’s legacy, head on over to our Donor Wall page for more information on plaque size and availability. There’s still some time left and you can become a part of Folsom history and have your name included on a world-class public art trail honoring the legacy of Johnny Cash in Folsom.