Horse mural

Photo by STACEY HAIRSTON

Joan and Carolyn Rogers have painted a mural across the side of the Angle Hardware building in downtown Rocky Mount. The painting is part of a new initiative to showcase Franklin County’s history and beauty.

The town of Rocky Mount is getting a face-lift as part of a new artistic collaboration between the town and local artists.

A new mural was recently painted along the side of the Angle Hardware building on Franklin Street.

Artist Carolyn Rogers designed and painted the mural with help from her mother and fellow artist, Joan Rogers.

“It’s not just us,” Carolyn Rogers said. “But other local artists as well. The town is really interested in working with the history and the beauty of Rocky Mount, and we really want to make the town beautiful for everyone to enjoy.”

The mural is one of many to pop up in the coming years, according to Town Planner Jessica Heckman.

“The murals are part of the new public art initiative,” Heckman said. “It is certainly bringing a lot of positive feedback from the town and its residents.”

Heckman said the town helps to fund the art projects on a case-by-case basis, depending on the allowed budget.

“We are allowed to use tourism money to fund up to a certain amount per year,” Heckman said. “The budget is limited, and we are not necessarily able to fund everything, but we are interested in working with local business owners and hearing their ideas.”

Heckman said business owners may have ideas of their own for the art created on their property, or the artists can start the creative ball rolling.

“Joan and Carolyn have been great in helping with ideas,” Heckman said.

The Crooked Road mural in the Jones shopping center parking lot on South Main Street features scenes from the Crooked Road and Franklin County’s history of tobacco farming, moonshine hauling, music-making and old country stores. Carolyn and Joan Rogers, Karl Schad and Carol Yopp created the art using ideas from the property owner, Randy Jones.

“Randy had specific ideas on what he wanted,” Carolyn Rogers said. “But the owner of Angle Hardware gave me a lot of creative leeway. I brought ideas to him, and he loved them. We are also getting ideas from local historians. We could paint murals of railroads, cornfields or vegetable gardens. It’s about seeing and feeling the space and what we think would work really well with each building, while incorporating the ideas of the property owners.”

The town and artists hope to introduce one or two projects per year, Heckman said, though plans for the next project have not yet been decided.

“We were thinking of starting another project in the spring,” she said. “We may consider some storm drain art or some work on our trash bins at the market.”

Heckman said the town welcomes any artist who can show proven artistic ability.

Property and business owners can apply to have art created on their property.

To apply, contact Heckman at 483-7660.



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