Did you know that there is an official Appalachian Mural Trail? The trail covers historical murals in North Carolina and Virginia. The trail map and mural details are laid out on the website https://www.muraltrail.com. Six of the historic public murals are in downtown Asheville, most within easy walking distance of each other. As you plan your stay at Applewood Manor, https://www.exploreasheville.com suggested that your plans include a mural hunt—a cultural treasure hunt throughout the historical streets of Asheville! Once at the mural location, take a “selfie” in front of the mural, upload it to https://muraltrail.com/cgi-bin/upload-photo/ and receive a free tee shirt that says: “I hiked the Appalachian Mural Trail.”
You will find the first mural, Golden Threads, at Pack’s Tavern located at 20 S. Spruce Street. Muralist Doreyl Ammons Cain’s work celebrates mountain music and the Shindig on the Green. The Shindig takes place in Pack Square Park on Saturday from late June through early September each year. The free music and dance event starts about sundown and usually ends around ten at night.
Next is the Haywood Street Fresco. It is located at the United Methodist Mission Congregation at 297 Haywood Street. The lead artist Christopher Holt’s fresco portrays Jesus’s most enduring sermon, the Beatitudes, where he begins, “Blessed are the poor.” On weekdays, you can view the fresco when the church is open, from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. To find the schedule for a viewing on a weekend, consult the Mission’s website, www.haywoodstreetfresco.org.
The third mural on the trail is the Chicken Alley Mural, a 200 square foot art piece with a 10-ft. rooster designed and painted by Molly Must. Located at 4 Woodfin Street, the mural interprets the history of the chicken-processing plant for which the alley is named and the area’s rich agricultural heritage. Chicken Alley is also known for the alleged ghost that haunts it. For more about its ghost, read the story Chicken Alley posted on Applewood Manor’s website at https://www.applewoodmanor.com/stories/chicken-alley.
The fourth is the Lexington Avenue Gateway Mural, a 3000 square foot mural underneath the Interstate 240 bridge over Lexington & Broadway Avenues painted by 6 different artists. It depicts a stylized timeline of Western North Carolina history. There is also an extension of the mural by Molly Must and Ian Wikinson of two men playing chess that depicts the image of two men who were real life daily regulars who played chess in Asheville’s Pritchard Park.
Asheville’s fifth mural on the Historic Mural Trail is the Triangle Park Mural, a 1300 square foot memorial to Asheville’s Black History. The mural spans the two sides of Triangle Park, at the intersection of Sycamore Alley and South Market Street in downtown Asheville. This is the center of “The Block,” an historic area that was the cultural and economic center of Western North Carolina’s African-American community. The mural was a community project involving nearly 100 volunteers.
Number six and the most recently added is the Dolly Parton Mural located at 783 Haywood Road, the Beauty Parade Salon. The Appalachian Mural Trail honors the historic roots of mountain people and events. And Dolly Parton’s rise from an Appalachian poor girl upbringing to her mega star status makes her the perfect ambassador for that mission. The artist, Gus Cutty, who works only with spray can paints, recently added another face to the mural, that of drag queen TV star, RuPaul, with Dolly’s hair style.
While the above six are all the Asheville murals on the official “Appalachian Mural Trail”, it is by no means all of Asheville’s public murals. The rest won’t earn you a T-Shirt, but they are sure worth extending your mural hunt to include them! Here are a sample of Asheville’s other murals:
- The Last Drop of wine by Jimmy O’Neal, located at 5 West Walnut.
- Daydreaming Woman on the side of Aloft Hotel at the corner of Lexington & Aston.
- Tribute to the Big Lebowski at Sky Lanes Bowling, 1477 Patton Avenue.
- Wild West Asheville at The Odditorium Bar, 1045 Haywood Road.
- Hall Fletcher Elementary School Mural by Ian Wilkinson and Alex Irvine, 60 Ridgelawn Rd.
- Good Vibes Silo at 1 Roberts Street and the continuously changing canvases throughout the River Arts District.
Many of the murals are the work of multiple artist and community volunteers. With so much talent and an enthusiastic community, murals and public approved graffiti projects continues to make Asheville more and more colorful.