Local artist completes new historic mural for Columbiana’s Main Street

Published 9:51 am Tuesday, July 2, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer 

COLUMBIANA – Last month, the Columbiana Beautification Board celebrated the completion of a long-planned mural that now welcomes visitors entering the city’s Main Street from the south.

Painted by local artist Rae Lynn Dodson of The Artists Nest, the mural is now displayed on the south facing brick wall of the Blue Agave Cantina and draws inspiration from the city’s historical roots. According to Dodson, the artwork pays homage to a bygone era that reflects an iconic structure that once stood near the mural’s location.

“In the early 1900s a water tower sat very close to where this mural is painted,” Dodson said. “Columbiana is the county seat of Shelby County so I (also) included an outline of Shelby County, (and) a star marking Columbiana’s location and the city’s coordinates.”

Alongside the outline of the county, an image of that long-since demolished water tower is prominently depicted on the right end of the mural, with the phrase, “Welcome to historic downtown Columbiana, Alabama” painted amongst the left end in front of a light blue-sky background. It also depicts a green ribbon bearing the significant date of Columbiana’s founding in 1821.

Lisa Strickland Davis, speaking on behalf of the Columbiana Beautification Board, expressed her own delight at the project’s completion and spoke on its significance to the community.

“Everyone enjoyed watching the progression of the painting throughout Memorial Day weekend,” Davis said. “Our board has been working on this project for over a year and to see it (finally) come to fruition is so exciting. It’s been a wonderful project to follow and we are so happy to share this historical mural with our community.”

Physical work began on the mural on Friday, May 24 and saw the final touches added and completed on June 2.

For Dodson, a native of Homewood who moved to Shelby County when she was in high school, this project marks a dedication to the city’s history and a continuation of her partnership with the Shelby County Arts Council, which began in 2005.

The completion of the mural has also generated continued excitement among Columbiana’s residents and has even spurred on conversations and storytelling about bygone elements of the city’s past.

One such element that was revealed to the surprise of many was that the upstairs of the Blue Agave Cantina building, which still displays a noticeable door in the side of its two-story structure with no way to reach, once served as the city’s movie theatre.

Davis emphasized these discussions and the community’s support of the project, while further encouraging all in town to visit the new display and capture photos their own moments in front of the mural.

“We are so excited to have this mural completed by Rae Lynn Dodson (of) The Artists Nest,” Davis said. “We are blessed to be in this amazing little community.”

Davis further encouraged both residents and visitors of the city to explore and learn more about Columbiana’s storied past at the Shelby County Archives and Museum, located at the old courthouse building at the center of Columbiana’s roundabout.