Downtown to showcase ‘Marshall-centric’ artwork starting July 20

MARSHALL — The Madison County Arts Council hopes Marshall’s quirky and artsy flavor will draw new visitors to the mountain town, as the organization will host an event featuring colorful artwork that will be displayed throughout the center -city on July 20 and 21.

The remaining three murals and eight medallions celebrating Marshall will be installed in downtown buildings, as well as on Blannahassett Island. The first installations will take place on July 20.

The artwork is “Marshall-centric” and references unique aspects of the city, its culture and its history, said Laura Boosinger, executive director of the Madison County Council for the Arts.

“The thing is, it’s supposed to bring people into town to see art, to be something that’s for the community, that’s of value to the community — so, of course, there’s music and agriculture, as well as wildlife,” Boosinger said. “It also incorporates the eccentricity of Marshall.”

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In July 2021, the Arts Council unveiled the first mural, “Find Your Center”, which was installed at Marshall’s First Presbyterian Church. Lara Nguyen designed the murals and her husband Todd Frahm designed the medallions.

The couple operate Stonecloud Studio and live in Swannanoa. They will be in Marshall on July 20 to install the work. Mayor Nancy Allen will be among the guest speakers at the event.

Lara Nguyen poses in front

The murals and medallions were made possible by Marshall’s designation as a SmART Community in 2018. The North Carolina Arts Council’s SmART Communities program is an initiative that transforms downtowns and fuels sustainable economic development, according to the website of the county arts council.

The murals are part of the NC Mural project, and each mural will have a plaque with a QR code attached to the building. These measure approximately 14 inches. Viewers will be able to click the QR code on their phone which will take them to the NC Mural project page where they can learn more about the artists, the murals and Marshall, according to Boosinger.

The interactivity of the medallions will allow families to experience art in a more meaningful way, the CEO said.

“The medallions are interactive, so families coming to town can grab a piece of paper and a big crayon and rub on the medallion,” Boosinger said. “The murals will have a plaque there, and all the sponsors – Hometown Strong, the Department of (Natural and) Cultural Resources – will be listed on the QR code.”

The QR code will allow the viewer to access filmed interviews with the artists, which will take place on July 21, as well as video of the installation, Boosinger said.

"wings and ropes"

“What this is going to do for Marshall is give us another bigger visibility across the state,” she said. “So when people find the fresco trail, they’ll come here to see it. Or maybe they’ll find the fresco trail when they’re in town and then find the fresco trail by looking at the plaques.

A "Everybody gets a wave" The medallion will be displayed at Marshall High Studios on Blannahassett Island, according to Laura Boosinger, executive director of the Madison County Arts Council.

“It’s going to be so invigorating. I don’t really think anyone has any issues with his appearance, because he’s bright and cheerful.

According to Boosinger, The Depot is among eight locations to receive a medallion. The famous concert hall will feature the “Sing to Me Your Song” medallion, which features a bird with a banjo on its back, depicted on a music stick.

“That’s the one I pushed,” said Boosinger, a renowned singer and banjo player.

"Sing me your song" is one of eight medallions to be installed in downtown Marshall and will be placed on The Depot.

Boosinger said while one of the goals of the project is to bring more visitors to Marshall, current residents of the original town will also appreciate the artwork.

“The idea is for people to come to town and interact with it and enjoy it, and people who come back to Marshall and grew up here,” she said. “I think there’s huge potential for engagement with all artwork.”

David H. Henry