The Transylvania Times -

New Public Art Flows On By – Brevard, NC

 

Last updated 3/29/2021 at 2:02pm

Billy Smith created the mural at Broad and West Jordan streets. (Courtesy photo by Sarah Siskind)

A new downtown Brevard public art project is complete and ready to be walked on.

The crosswalk mural installation at Broad and West Jordan streets, which was designed by local artist Billy Smith, depicts colorful brook trout swimming beneath broken pavement.

The Heart of Brevard (HOB) partnered with the city, the Blue Zones Project and Transylvania County Tourism (TCT) on the project, and organizers are promising more downtown public art projects in the future.

The mural is envisioned to not only bring new public art to downtown, but also to create a more visible connection between Broad and West Jordan streets, encouraging visitors to explore the shops and businesses along these corridors, according to a news release.

"In the past year, we have seen several communities across North Carolina using mural art to engage visitors and locals, to calm traffic and to add a little bit of creativity. It's all about place making," said Nicole Bentley, the HOB executive director. "This project helps to create a vibrant space that is enjoyable not only for cars but for pedestrians and bicyclists as well."

Mark Burrows, the Blue Zones Project's senior community program manager, played a critical role in the mural's development, the release said.

"Helping the City of Brevard and the HOB create a safer downtown for pedestrians and cyclists is one of our primary built environment policy strategies," he said. "This particular intersection was identified by Dan Burdon, a Blue Zones policy specialist, who has assisted thousands of communities across the U.S, as an intersection that needs improvement. When the HOB shared the idea about this project – it was an obvious fit."

Colorful murals have been popping up all over the world, injecting cities with beauty, culture and art-focused tourism; bright colors and unique designs in crosswalks help to create a sense of community while keeping pedestrians safer and drawing drivers' attention to them while contributing to overall place-making efforts.

"In an effort to ensure a thriving, sustainable tourism economy in our community, TCT seeks ways to support the infrastructure of our destination," said TCT Executive Director Clark Lovelace. "By enhancing our already vibrant downtown and reflecting our connection to art in our community, plus having subject matter aligned with our brand, this project checked off a lot of important boxes. TCT is proud to be involved."

The new crosswalk mural is the one of many enhancement projects planned for West Jordan Street. HOB has been working with the Downtown Master Plan Committee (DTMPC) and the street's business owners for over a year to identify strategies to create a more vibrant and a well-recognized gateway to West Jordan Street.

The public art at Broad and West Jordan streets in Brevard is one of several projects that organizers hope to create in downtown. (Courtesy photo by Sarah Siskind).

The goal is to make the street more inviting for business owners, residents and visitors. Other projects include the relocation of trash and recycling bins and the addition of seasonal planters.

"The DTMPC supported this project as one of our first forays into public art because it is unusual, attention getting and frankly fun," said Councilwoman and DTMPC member Maureen Copelof. "You don't expect to see a mural on a crosswalk, so it surprises people when they see it.

"This is the first of what we hope will be several projects around the downtown area. The City of Brevard along, with Heart of Brevard and our local businesses, are looking at where else to incorporate more fun and vibrant examples of public art."

 
 

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