The Grand Expanse among murals

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Stretching from the Great Smoky Mountains up into the Shenandoah Valley National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers grand vistas. Spilling over onto Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah Valley the views continue as the Appalachian Mural Trail adds to its expanding exhibit of cultural public art: a new Shenandoah Valley showcase of outstanding mural art.
The newest member to the Appalachian Mural Trail is Page County, Virginia, featuring many murals in the Town of Luray. The town established their own amazing walking art trails of over 30 magnificent murals and other public art located along the Hawksbill Greenway. Each mural tells a story about the community’s history and beauty.
The artists’ inspiration for painting the murals are highlight ed on the Luray Page County landing page. One such artist, Weldon Bagwell says, “I lived for many years just off Tanners Ridge Road in the woods going up into the Park. I’ve spent many hours hiking all around this area and from pictures that I have taken and from life have painted many landscapes through the seasons of nature, the sky and animals that I have observed.”
Bagwell added, “While working for the town of Luray in the Parks and Recreation Department, I was given the opportunity to paint a mural on the abutment under the bridge over Highway 340. Sand bags placed in the creek supported me on three level of scaffolding as i climbed up to paint much of the mural. I decided to call it “A Natural History of the Hawksbill Creek” and in it depict some of the birds, fish, and butterflies that I had observed while working along the Luray Hawksbill Greenway. A Black-crowned Night Heron watched me as I painted a portrait of him as he sat high up in a tree and most of the butterflies were painted from life.”
These small mountain towns have stories to tell and many of them are captured in huge art murals. Visitors to the Appalachian Mountains can go to muraltrail.com and plan their itinerary based on viewing magnificent historical mural art and receive directions on how to find the art.
“The mural trail is an exciting, rewarding platform that we are creating and promoting to a world market,” says Doreyl Ammons Cain, Director, Appalachian Mural Trail. “Go to muraltrail.com and see this immense creativity for yourself! Then take a trip to view the art first hand. Enjoy a “Transformational Moment” in front of a mural, snap a ‘selfie’ in front of the mural and upload it to the mural trail ‘selfie’ page for a free Tee; it will expand your horizons!”

Willow Grove Mill mural by Jennifer Bradt. (By Eleanor Ames).