Community Art Honored by Appalachian Mural Trail

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A mural from the Founders Art Walk in Marion NC .
A mural from the Founders Art Walk in Marion NC .

Recently the Appalachian Mural Trail added the results of an entire town’s efforts to the mural trail’s comprehensive website, muraltrail.com.

Public art is defined as art forms incorporated into the fabric of a community, with the assistance of citizen participation. Marion, North Carolina’s recently installed Founders’ Art Walk makes that connection. The Appalachian Mural Trail added this beautiful art series to its growing list of community based cultural murals. Each mural tells a story of life in Marion and was created with the highest intentions and quality.

As McDowell County’s 175th anniversary celebration was being planned, an opportunity presented itself to include the arts. Working with the county ’s tourism authority and Historic Carson House, discussions evolved and the concept of creating an outdoor art display became a reality. Collaborations began to coalesce, artistic partners were identified, and Marion business owners agreed to host mural panels. Soon thereafter, the Founders’ Art Walk was created and installed throughout Marion’s  downtown Main Street neighborhood.

The first six murals depict a variety of favorite local sites, including historical properties.
The Lake Tahoma Casino, the Marion Train Depot, Historic Carson House, Lake James, Tom’s Creek Waterfall, and the classic 19th century architecture of Marion’s Main Street. Marion’s logo is, Where Main Street Meets the Mountains, and the image includes iconic Mt. Ida.

Participating artists include McDowell High School students and art teachers. Retired art teacher and free-lance artist Karen Dark supervised the art work and artists. Christi Shaw is a county art teacher and educator who worked to provide materials, studio space and she painted the Lake James mural. Local art student Korryn Shedlock and Marion artist Holly Whitsett were major contributors and project artists.

Each canvas is a custom made, wooden structure built by Mike Lucas. Mike has created over 200 similar forms as part of the McDowell Quilt Trail project. The City of Marion installed each piece, created and donated individual mural name plates to identify each piece and artist. The McDowell County Tourism Authority provided project funding and printed promotional brochures.

The walk covers three blocks in downtown Marion’s Main Street neighborhood. To find directions and to preview these delightful murals go to muraltrail.com. The Appalachian mural Trail website has over 75 cultural murals showcased that are located throughout North Carolina and Virginia.

The Appalachian Mural Trail honors mural projects that bring folks together to create public art that uplifts their community in such a beautiful way.