News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today
FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2007

Your mural
could go here

Arts Council needs your help to beautify downtown Decatur

By Danielle Komis · 340-2447

Art isn't just for inside museum walls.

Sometimes it reaches outside the box.

The Decatur Arts Council is coordinating an effort to cover the exterior walls of businesses in downtown Decatur with murals painted by various artists. Themes range from Decatur history, literature and theater to vintage advertising, visual arts and student art.

The council is inviting all artists, local or non-local, to submit entries for the project. They hope it will encourage community involvement in the arts, beautify the downtown area, and attract tourism and business. They want to have the project finished by June 2008.

"If the community doesn't participate, the project basically won't exist," said arts council co-president Tracey Sykes. "We really want people to get involved."

Eight businesses — mainly on Bank Street and Second Avenue — have already agreed to be mural hosts, though arts council members still are not finished contacting local businesses about the project.

So far, the council has received positive feedback from business owners they have contacted about the project, as well as from the City Council.

"They're excited about the potential business it'll bring to the area," Sykes said. "When I started talking to people about it I found there was a lot of interest."

Entries should be turned in before Sept. 1. Soon after the deadline, the council will unveil the entries and invite the community to vote on them. The entries will be displayed for several weeks at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center in Decatur to give the community an opportunity to see them all and vote on their favorites.

"We wanted people to have a voice in what goes on the buildings," Sykes said.

Laura Phillips, executive director of the Carnegie and arts council adviser, said the finished project will be an asset to the community.

"It's an interesting way to bring the visual arts to the great outdoors," she said. "Visual arts are so important to the development of humankind ... the way we think, the way we view our world, and this project is only going to enhance that."

The council expects the project will become an annual event, which is part of the reason the murals will not be directly painted on the building walls. Instead, they will be painted in sections off-site on billboard-like material and then assembled and hung on the walls.

The mural project will be funded with grant money the arts council plans to secure soon, as well as with voluntary sponsorships from businesses and citizens.

Want more info?

If you’re interested in submitting a mural design, hosting a mural or sponsoring a mural, please visit the Decatur Arts Council Web site at, e-mail or call 337-5770.

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