Columbiana Main Street plans mural project

By SASHA JOHNS / Community Columnist

Columbiana’s Main Street organization has come out of the pandemic reinvigorated, reorganized and ready to make big strides in the revitalization of their charming town.

This year they have already managed to help with such events as the annual Bunny Tea, Music on Main, Movies in the Park, Art on Main and the Liberty Day 5k. All of these events have brought visitors to town, which helps small businesses and fosters the growth of the local community.

Their next project is currently in the planning stages and will be a collaboration with local youth that will leave a legacy for generations to come. Early plans are in the works to create a large mural near the central hub of town that will be painted by the Shelby County High School art students of teacher Michelle Branson. The mural will complement several of the other historic murals the town is already known for.

This will be more than just an art project though. The opportunity to work with the Main Street organization will give the students some insight into the business of commercial art and working with city organizations to make projects come to fruition. Furthermore, Branson is enlisting the local Birmingham mural company, Bendy Knees, to further guide the students in the art form of mural painting.

Four designs are in the works from which one will be approved later this month by the Main Street board and members from other county organizations.

“The biggest focus right now is fundraising,” Branson said. While the Main Street organization is helping with much of the cost, the SCHS art club overall will need to raise close to $2,000 total on their end to make the project happen.

At Columbiana’s annual Liberty Day celebration, Art Club volunteers, under the guidance of their teacher,  managed to collect a large chunk of that by raising funds through bouncy houses in the sector of the festival devoted to children. “We made about $700 at Liberty Day, $3 and a few generous tips at a time,” Branson was happy to announce.

Main Street Board President Grace Graham and Vice President Cathy Hitt are thrilled with the way plans are coming along.

“I’m so excited to be working with Michelle Branson and our own youth and talent here in town for this project,” Hitt said. “This is exactly what Main Street groups are about—building community—and this project is a great example.”

Graham said she envisions the mural as a draw to art lovers everywhere.

“It will be another great selfie station in town and will foster much-deserved pride for the community when they see folks coming into town to take pictures with the art their children created,” she said.

We’ll keep you up to date on this project as it continues to unfold. In the meantime, if you would like to make a donation to the Main Street Mural project, contact Cathy Hitt or drop off a check made out to “Columbiana Main Street” at the Farm Company on Columbiana’s Main Street. You can reach her at 205-671-5477.