SCAC prepares to imagine, create, inspire with new mural

Published 4:22 pm Monday, March 11, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – On Wednesday, March 6, the Shelby County Arts Council announced that a new mural would soon make its grand appearance once it is painted on the amphitheater wall at Old Mill Square Park.

Located on the side of the facility, the 17 feet wide and 30 feet tall amphitheater wall at Old Mill Square Park is one of the buildings most easily identifiable features. Thanks to Bruce Andrews, the executive director of SCAC, it will now be even more striking to visitors and traffic passing by on West College Street.

As announced, Andrews will be the artist responsible for painting the mural which will feature the phrase “Imagine, Create, Inspire” printed on a banner that flows around a large oak tree set in a field at sunrise. Near the bottom the tree’s roots, a plaque emboldened with the year of Columbiana’s founding, 1826, will also be visible.

“We want it to be our gift to the community,” Andrews said. “I can do this because of the support of our staff, board and volunteers who will work in my place when I am painting.”

The new mural will not cost the city a cent according to Andrews, who will be carrying out the process as a personal gesture to the SCAC and the city. The cost of all supplies and equipment have been covered through donations from State Rep. Corley Ellis, Kyle Mims of Edward Jones Investments and a grant from the Alabama State Arts Council.

For Andrews, the project also serves as another point of motivation—one that represents a far more personal angle.

“As a 66-year-old artist diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, this project is going to be a stretch physically,” Andrews said. “Even though I have extensive experience at painting large-scale murals, this is a big project. Even so, it’s important to me that I complete this myself.”

Andrews further described the effort as representing the idea that one should always attempt to do things they feel might be just out of reach, as a way to stay motivated and to always stay active and trying toward a goal.

“Everyone on this planet is going through something,” Andrews said. “With Parkinson’s (disease) I feel that being inactive and not pushing myself gives my symptoms the upper hand. I hope my “coming out’ with this inspires creative folks who have struggles to not quit, keep on making the absolute best out of every day. We’re all here to leave this place a little better than we found it—if possible.”

While the mural itself is not yet completed, Andrews and the SCAC have released a watercolor sketch to the public on the SCAC’s Facebook page that approximates the mural’s final appearance.

“(The watercolor image) is just a sketch to give you some idea,” Andrews said. “The actual painting will be much more colorful.”

According to Andrews, the mural will be spewing with symbolism that embodies the local spirit of the community, what Columbiana means to those that call the city home and how individuals can live a more positive life.

“Trees provide all kinds of symbolism, but in essence, they represent protection, provision and beauty, just like a good community does,” Andrews said. “The background is a single point perspective with all lines of sight, focused on the horizon. That’s a good way to live your day-to-day life, with eyes on a positive horizon (not just looking down at the news).”

Further lending to the mural’s symbology, the SCAC further explained that Columbiana’s founding date being located among the roots of the tree is meant to implore everyone to never forget one’s roots and to “always be grateful and show love to your community in whatever way you can.”

The SCAC will also produce a documentary during the murals creation that will depict the process of the painting and promote the project and the city as a whole. According to the SCAC, Video Visions Media and Marketing will produce the video.

The mural is currently expected to be completed by Columbiana’s Liberty Day, 2024, which is scheduled to take place on June 28-29.

“With that in mind, I hope that people find the production of this mural to be a little bit of inspiration to get up and do the best you can,” Andrews said. “As the slogan on the mural says, ‘imagine, create & inspire.’”