Thursday, April 30, 2009
Downtown mural project
By SUE WATSON
Local muralist Elton Collins recently installed the first of four murals commissioned by the tourism bureau on the side of the Utley Building in Holly Springs.
“Murals are part of the Cultural Corners designation we received last summer from Governor Haley Barbour,” said Stephanie Movre, executive director of the bureau. “A permanent art exhibit around the square or in the downtown area that represents the history and cultural heritage of the town was part of the project.”
Each mural has four images on it representing four aspects of Holly Springs. The images or ideas for the murals are a collaboration with the tourism bureau, artists, Sarah McCullough with the Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division and Michelle Jones with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Theses images or ideas stemmed from a workshop held last summer with city leaders, Movre said.
The murals will showcase Holly Springs’ blues music heritage, grand Southern architecture, religious history and African American and civil rights history. As funds are available, additional murals will showcase other aspects of the city that are unique - the Hummingbird Migration Celebration, the Kudzu Festival, the Chickasaw Indian Heritage, the museums, Rust College, Hiram Revels, Graceland Too, Hill Crest Cemetery, the Mississippi Central Railroad, the Civil War, the Van Dorn Raid and what brought the city much of its wealth to build the city - cotton.
“Collins’ interpretation focuses on the history and culture and what made us, us,” Movre said. “With so many aspects of Holly Springs we can represent, the project can grow and be added to for years to come and eventually branch out to other areas of town.”
Collins lives in the Higdon Road area of Marshall County. He has created murals for interior structures in Holly Springs and his work has been published in the 2001 Chrysler Calendar and Lowrider Magazine. Collins holds a bachelor’s of art in illustration and graphic design from the Memphis College or Art in Memphis, Tenn., where his art was featured on a limited edition poster honoring the Tiger basketball team.
Movre said the tourism bureau hopes that by aesthetically enhancing the downtown area and showcasing the cultural heritage of the city, tourism traffic will increase in Holly Springs for local business. The murals offer visitors the additional attractions and incentive to visit the area while developing hometown pride in local citizens by showcasing the many historical and cultural aspects of Holly Springs.
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