MARION - The Appalachian Mural Trail has announced the addition of the city of Marion’s recently installed “Founders’ Art Walk” to its listing of murals throughout western North Carolina and Virginia. The Trail honors mural projects that bring people together to create public art that uplifts their community in a beautiful way and promotes them on its website to encourage art tourism to rural areas.

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, 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.

Each mural tells a story of life in Marion and was created with the highest intentions and quality. The first six murals depict a variety of favorite local sites, including historical properties, including 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 freelance 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. Shaw 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 more than 200 similar forms as part of the McDowell Quilt Trail project. The city of Marion installed each piece, and 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 the murals, visit www.muraltrail.com. The Appalachian Mural Trail website has more than 75 cultural murals showcased that are located throughout North Carolina and Virginia.

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