Manchester sees bevy of outdoor art projects

Manchester will see the addition of several new outdoor art projects, now very early in the planning stage. 

The Mercantile Café’s wall, exposed to N. Spring Street will hopefully be the location of a community mural showcasing an interpretation of van Gogh’s Sunflowers.

Heading up the project is Manchester Vice Mayor Bill Nickels.

“This is just now in the ‘finger crossed-stage,’” Nickels cautioned.

Nickels explained that his vision for the project is for a community-based mural. Coffee County Central High School student artists will outline the work. Then over a series of community days, the public would be invited to fill in the blanks in a mural-sized paint by numbers.

He credited the inspiration for the paint by numbers to Manchester Chamber Executive Director Katy Riddle. 

Nickels said the project could be started in the spring, but so far he has only met with the CHS art teacher Mary Vacek.

“My intention is to every year do a new mural in town that’s a historically famous painter,” Nickels said.

“This is a way to bring families together … for a paint by number day,” he said.

The way the paint by numbers system works, Nickels explained, the artwork is scanned into a computer program then a number-to-color code is generated.

“The high school kids will build it, put it on the wall and prep it. So it’s a learning thing for them…that will get Vincent van Gogh in the conversation, families in the conversation and Manchester will be in the conversation.”   

Two additional murals are also in the works for downtown. During the November meeting of the Downtown Manchester Movement Steering Committee Minutes, the group discussed several upcoming art projects, according to the minutes from the meeting.

A new mural has been planned and approved for the east side of the Manchester Arts Center, 128 E. Main St. for the Woodland Street side of the building.

Freelance writer Sarah Brown posted on social media that the project is being painted by Ashville, N.C. art teacher Alex Pietzsch, a former resident of Manchester.  

According to the minutes, “(Committee member) Ray Amos said that two additional murals are proposed: one on the east side of The Mercantile Café and one on the Nichols building.”

Details of the two projects were not mentioned and Amos declined to comment on the project when contacted by the Times.

According to the document, the County Courthouse repainting was awarded to Volunteer Paint to paint the exterior trim. Painting is to be started in the spring and an art walk could link Manchester’s outdoor art.     

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