Press release from The Appalachian Mural Trail Group:
“Shining a light on our rich Appalachian heritage through an outdoor historical mural trail located near the Blue Ridge Parkway is the vision for the Appalachian Mural Trail. Murals created by artists living in the towns and communities, telling the stories of mountain heritage with feeling, makes this an exciting project designed to interpret mountain heritage,” says Doreyl Ammons Cain, Project Director.
“The concept of the Appalachian Mural Trail came together two years ago after discussing the idea with my husband Jerry Cain and for over 20 years within Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, non-profit organization. In the beginning the project was titled “The Majesty of Mountain Heritage”and a first large historical mural was created and traveled throughout the far western counties. Exhibited at the Swain County Center for the Arts, the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce historical office building, the Balsam Mountain Inn in Haywood County and the Antique Mall in Macon County with art receptions at each location. This first “Majesty of Mountain Heritage” mural was purchased by a private art collector. Since then other murals have gradually developed, “On Hallowed Ground” in Dillsboro, “Cakewalks” in the Jackson County Library, the history of Cumberland Gap at their National Park Visitor’s Center and “Golden Threads” musical heritage mural in Pack Square Park, downtown Asheville,” continues Doreyl.
The honoring of our mountain heritage through the arts is the core essence of the Appalachian Mural Trail’s vision and now it is becoming a reality through partnerships with other communities and organizations throughout the Appalachian Mountains. Becoming a member of the Blue Ridge Parkway Association in September 2016 began the first step for the Appalachian Mural Trail, where the mural trail is featured in the Blue Ridge Parkway Directory & Travel Planner, listed in their calendar of events with links to the mural trail web site and featured in the Blue Ridge Parkway mobile Travel Planner application.
The Appalachian Mural Trail will draw high quality visitors from the Blue Ridge Parkway into the communities where the visitors will eat, sleep and purchase from local businesses. These visitors will learn about the community, it’s history and see the amazing art rendered by the mural artists. Quality of life for all will be enhanced. Employment of those artists who create the murals and the increase in local commerce will create new jobs. The community itself will be uplifted through the honoring of local culture through their own outdoor historical mural, as the mural will be accessible to all peoples.
The announcement of the dedication of five outdoor historical murals to the Appalachian Mural Trail will be coming soon!
As more communities join the Appalachian Mural Trail more marketing efforts can be added. Eventually spin-offs will be developed to help sustain the project. A book about the communities and mural artists will be published, a collectable mural map suitable for framing, mural art note cards and art prints will all be available for sale from the Appalachian Mural Trail website.
Communities near the Blue Ridge Parkway are invited to apply to be on the Appalachian Mural Trail by contacting the Project Manager, Doreyl Ammons Cain at 828-293-2239 or visit the website: muraltrail.com, where an Appalachian Mural Trail application is available.