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Latest of Meriwether County murals completed in Greenville


The latest addition to Meriwether County’s “Murals and Monarchs” tourism project is a mural in the county seat of Greenville.

Completed in early June, it joins a series of historic murals and butterfly gardens across Meriwether County in a project begun in early 2016. Historic murals have been painted by Hapeville-based artist John Christian in Warm Springs, Lone Oak and Woodbury – and now Greenville.  Next up Christian plans to begin work on a mural in Manchester.

According to Carolyn McKinley of Meriwether County Chamber of Commerce and the Together in Meriwether committee, Greenville’s mural is situated on the building across from Hill Brothers Corner as travelers come into Greenville from LaGrange. The owner of the building agreed to absorb the cost for needed prep work, which took place in early 2017.

A Greenville delegation met with the artist to offer suggestions for what would be included on the city’s mural and a rendering was prepared.

Publix Charities Foundation was a co-sponsor for the Greenville mural with a $3,800 grant. The request for funding to support the Greenville mural was submitted to the George Jenkins family. Mr. Jenkins was born in Meriwether County and graduated from Greenville High School. He was the founder of the Publix grocery stores.

Other funding for the Greenville mural came from the same Tourism Product Development grants, through the Georgia Department of Economic Development, that funded the Woodbury, Warm Springs and Lone Oak murals, McKinley said.

Three separate grants were received from the Tourism Product Development grant program. The first was for butterfly gardens in Warm Springs and Luthersville, then one for the mural in Warm Springs, and a third for the murals in Woodbury and Greenville. The TPD grant program also funded the launch of the county-wide geocache trail with a zombie-themed geocache in Woodbury.

For Manchester, their mural will go on the Mexican restaurant in the downtown area. "This will be the largest of the murals and the exact composition is still being finalized, but may include the mill (including the pond); a train engine (possibly depicted coming through the map); something representing Manchester High School; the President Theatre; Elliott Station; Bill Mathis; Stuart Woods; FDR receiving a milkshake from M.B. Guy, Jr.; Willie Holloway (first black police chief) and the Rosenwald school," McKinley said.

Plans are for the Manchester mural to be completed by the end of June, according to the terms of a state tourism grant helping fund the mural project.

Meriwether County in October 2016 received a grant through GDEcD from the Georgia Council for the Arts for the Manchester mural project. It is part of GCA’s Vibrant Communities grant. Meriwether County was among 85 entities that received more than $297,963 in funding.

GCA received 112 applications requesting $394,961 from 69 counties across the state. Applicants included libraries, schools, arts centers, cities, historical societies, community theatres, Boys & Girls Clubs, etc. The Vibrant Communities Grant was made available to organizations in counties that did not receive an FY17 Project or Partner Grant.

“Georgia’s communities are filled with great art, inspired artists and bold visions for the ways in which local art can bolster economic development efforts in our communities,” said GCA executive director Karen Paty. “GCA recognizes that a thriving arts community contributes immeasurably to economic and social vitality, and the Vibrant Communities grant is one of the ways in which we support the incredible work happening in our communities.”

As part of the Murals and Monarchs project, butterfly gardens have been developed in Warm Springs, Luthersville and Manchester, and a $5,000 state Tourism Product Development grant was received this January to continue expanding Meriwether’s butterfly garden project with a garden in Woodbury.

Also, paperwork was submitted and applications accepted for the Warm Springs and Luthersville butterfly gardens that were established in spring 2016 to be accepted into the Rosalyn Carter Butterfly Trail. Signage noting the designation is being placed at the two gardens.

The idea for the butterfly gardens was inspired by a butterfly garden seen by Chamber of Commerce Director Carolyn McKinley in Plains, Ga., home of President Jimmy Carter. First Lady Rosalynn Carter is a supporter of efforts to save the dwindling Monarch Butterfly population, and Meriwether County is part of the Presidential Pathways travel region.

In an additional accomplishment, in December 2016 the Luthersville City Park Butterfly Garden, the Warm Springs Welcome Center Butterfly Garden and the City of Manchester Butterfly Garden had all been added to the UGA Center for Urban Agriculture Pollinator Spaces Project. You can visit the website at: https://ugaurbanag.com/gardens/pollinators/project-gardens/

Gov. Nathan Deal at the 2016 Georgia Governor’s Tourism Conference in September in College Park announced that Georgia’s tourism industry generated a record $58.9 billion economic impact during the last year.

“Tourism has become one of Georgia's top economic generators, as the industry supports more than 439,000 jobs and surpassed $58.9 billion in economic impact last year,” said Deal. “In 2015 alone, a record 100 million visitors came to Georgia to explore our mountains, beaches, big cities and small towns. With a thriving tourism sector and new attractions coming across the state, I have no doubt that next year will follow the trend of exceeding our expectations.”

“A growing, healthy tourism industry is critical to creating a pro-business climate in Georgia by improving our quality of life, accommodations, transportation, arts and entertainment,” said GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr.

The recently completed mural in Greenville done by Hapeville-based artist John Christian.