By Taylor Boyd
The Town Council of Stuart approved an allocation of $2,000 to help fund the creation of a mural in Uptown Stuart.
The mural will be installed on the large wall in-between Main Street and Slusher Street in-between the Schneider & Williams, P.C., and Divine Designs buildings.
Britt Schneider Williams, a representative of the project, told council members at a March 17 meeting the mural would serve several purposes besides increasing the overall attractiveness of the space.
The mural “will also draw people to visit the space, document their location, take a picture with it, share it with their community when they’re online, or actually in-person to bring other people with them to visit it,” she said.
The mural also will help create a sense of pride for the community.
“We think it will create a sense of pride and connection just because we want to get the community involved in it’s actually painting. A large paint by numbers if you will,” she said.
After the artists outline the mural, members of the community will be able to participate in the work, “whether it’s high school art students that can help blend or just us good old non-artist people that can help fill in, we want the community to be a part of its installation,” Schneider Williams said.
“We also think it will also lead to increased foot-traffic in that area just because people want to stop, take a picture,” and then visit the rest of the Main Street area, she added.
Schneider Williams said the mural will also help with economic development as potential employers will see the mural as a sign that the area is trying to give residents “a vibrant community and a vibrant quality of space.”
She said the mural would also fulfill the main goals presented at the Patrick County Community Conversation Workshop in Feb. 2019, where the group discussed how to provide citizens of the county a better quality of life.
“The top two goals that all the participants came up with were related to enhancing tourism and enhancing cultural identity or a sense of space that we have here,” she said.
Schneider Williams said work on the mural would being in fall at the earliest, depending on the artist, Lora Mahaffey, and Mahaffey’s schedule with Bull Mountain Arts and her other commitments.
The requested $2,000 would primarily go towards buying paint, which is the most expensive part of the project. About 20 different paints, including more than 15 different colors, an MSA varnish coat, and an isolation coat, are needed, Schneider Williams said.
She said the mural itself will only take seven to 10 days to paint/install, “so, it really is just us picking out a week to two weeks where there’s no rain.”
“Schneider & Williams is sponsoring and covering the cost of anything related to the prepping of the wall. So, like obviously if you walk by there the paint’s already chipping so you can’t just go and slap on more paint. We have to get all of that off, pressure wash it, treat it, have the scaffolding, all the supplies to treat the wall,” she said.
Schneider Williams said any leftover funds after the mural is completed will go towards a celebration of the mural.
“We imagine food trucks, beer tents, wine tents, you know music. Some sort of event that will celebrate the mural” and the artists, she said.
She said the group did not want to do another landscape, mountain setting, or civil war piece, and instead wanted to do something “new and different that gets the energy going.”
Her husband, Wren Williams “and I have always really appreciated the unrealistic murals. You know the things that just don’t happen in real life, something that truly came out of an artist’s mind,” Schneider Williams said, adding Mahaffey was inspired by the fair when designing the mural.
In other matters, the council:
*Discussed the legality and possibility of an ordinance to help stop people from parking in fire lanes.