By Jessica Klarp
The Black Mountain Center for the Arts (BMCA) is a vibrant, vital, community non-profit arts organization housed in the old City Hall on State Street. It’s one of the first buildings visitors encounter as they enter the historic district eastbound along Highway 70, and now the outside of the building will reflect all of the amazing and creative things going on inside. Asheville artists Scott Allred and Jeremy Russell of Bruschcan Custom Murals and Design worked with the leadership of BMCA to create a big impact on the aging west wall of the building.
The style of the mural is reminiscent of great American painter Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) who represented everyday working people in his muscular, colorful murals and was most associated with the Regionalist art movement. Benton was, in turn, influenced by the elongated figures of Spanish Renaissance painter El Greco (1541-1614).
“The composition will be a view inside the historic building showing all of the arts supported by BMCA including fine art, drawing, painting, ceramics, dance, theater and music,” says Allred. “It was designed in a traditional 1930s WPA [Works Progress Administration] mural style. A public mural on the side of BMCA is a great way to continue the tradition of ‘Bringing Arts to the People.’”
Russell comes from a fine art, mural and scenic painting background, and Allred is a graphic designer, mural and sign painter. Together they bring a combined 45 years of professional experience. Past Brushcan Murals projects include a diorama at Mount Mitchell State Park, and, in Asheville, the iconic Hunter Banks building at the Montford Avenue exit off I-240, a new mural depicting old signs on Rankin Avenue and a clever update of a classic label at Chemist on Coxe Avenue.
Gale Jackson, recently retired BMCA executive director and board member, discussed and envisioned a new mural for several years. “It’s pretty exciting to finally see this project come to fruition right here in our downtown,” says Jackson. “I believe it will serve as a prominent gateway to our community in a welcoming and inviting way. This mural will also announce to everyone that the arts are a vital part of the fabric of our culture here.”
BMCA’s new executive director Lori Cozzi has worked with Brushcan Murals on a project for ArtSpace Charter School and believes in the strength of the artists’ work. “Visitors and our community will enjoy this work of art far into the future,” she says. “We are so grateful to Jeremy and Scott for helping us conceptualize this dream and for making this dream a reality.”
The mural has been funded by a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, The Lipscomb Family Foundation and many generous individual donors.
Another happening this month is the 13th annual Acoustic Corner Instructors Concert, taking place Saturday, November 23, at 7:30 pm. This popular event is a family-friendly way to begin your holiday season with many talented and diverse musicians all working together to showcase their instruments and styles.
Tickets for the Instructors Concert are $20 and can be purchased at BlackMountainArts.org or by calling 828.669.0930. The Black Mountain Center for the Arts is located at 225 West State Street in Black Mountain.