Ever since my first trip to Cincinnati a few years ago, I have been fascinated by painted murals on public buildings and pieces of humorous and/or meaningful sculpture created and placed where anyone can see and enjoy. At first, I thought it "must be a big city thing." But, the more I've traveled around the southeast to both large cities and small towns, I'm noticing a growing trend, and that makes me happy.
Read this quote in a paper written for "Americans for the Arts" addressing the topic of "why public art matters" --
Public art humanizes the built environment and invigorates public spaces. It provides an intersection between past, present and future, between disciplines, and between ideas. Public art is freely accessible. American cities and towns aspire to be places where people want to live and want to visit. Having a particular community identity, especially in terms of what our towns look like, is becoming even more important in a world where everyplace tends to looks like everyplace else. Places with strong public art expressions break the trend of blandness and sameness and give communities a stronger sense of place and identity.
I am totally on board with that line of thinking. I would go a step further to say that it reflects a real sense of pride in a community that carries over into many facets of that community's success.
That's why I'm so happy to see the progress being made in Huntsville and now in Decatur/Morgan County.
Huntsville has acquired quite an extensive list of public art installations and has created an app that describes and locates the various sculptures and paintings. It is called SPACES Sculpture Trail HSV.
I followed the app and found several pieces on a recent sunny Saturday. Here are some teasers:
It's like going on a giant scavenger hunt, AND it's a perfect way to get outside without really interacting with other people or having to wear a mask while you're riding from place to place. Side note -- a guard stands at the entrance to the parking lot at Lowe Mill and won't let you pass his post without putting on a mask.
Just think. You can stay socially distant AND be entertained.
Decatur has recently posted a Mural Trail on the DecaturCVB.org website and here's the link:
Look at the latest one to be added. Isn't it gorgeous? It was painted by Michael McPheeters. He plans to start his next one and has hinted that it will be similar to the angel wings mural in Nashville.
Hartselle has a mural on the current trail. Go find it.
Plans are in the works for 29 more murals throughout Decatur and with the talented people from the Alabama Center for the Arts on 2nd Avenue in Decatur along with Glenn Mitchell who is heading up the Chasing Art Project, I believe the city will soon be bursting with color. Instagram will blow up!!