Mural Collective helps make Michael Roy mural a reality

June 9th, 2014 Comments Off on Mural Collective helps make Michael Roy mural a reality

photo 2 webStory and photos by Lori Neuenfeldt | Programs Coordinator for the Visual Arts Center Gallery and Outreach Programs

Even small actions lead to big changes. We see that happening firsthand here in Starkville.

Starkville, a city that heralds itself as one of the lead cities for art in Mississippi, is finally getting a large public artwork in the form of a mural by Michael Roy. It was no small feat getting the world-traveling mural artist here to create a unique piece on the side of the local Italian eatery Stromboli’s. Instead, it was the collective acts and vision of a community, many of them with ties to the MSU Department of Art.

Michael Roy, aka “birdcap,” is a mural artist visiting Starkville to paint the first official mural sponsored by the Mural Collective of Starkville, an organization started by MSU graphic design alumna Lorrin Webb. A friend of Webb’s, Roy grew up in Mississippi and has spent some time creating murals in South Korea and Germany.

To get him to Starkville, Webb rallied the support of businesses and the city leaders, including the mayor. However, getting Roy here was just part of the puzzle. Once here, he needed a place to stay, transportation,and extra hands to help get the mural painted. That’s where the community stepped up.

Through word of mouth, the mural plan spread fast, and all those necessary needs were met. The MSU Department of Art and the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge have an ongoing artist-in-residence program that offers free housing for visiting artists, and Michael Roy found a place to stay. For transportation, a group message on the Mural Collective of Starkville’s facebook page connected volunteers to arrange rides for the artist to and from the Refuge in order to paint. Many of these volunteers are staff, students and former students of the MSU Department of Art. And to help paint the mural, current art students, such as Thomas McBroom and Dupree Bostic, enthusiastically volunteered.

The spectacular mural, imbedded with its own symbolism put there by the artist, also becomes a symbol of the community. It represents all those who stepped up to make it possible. Years from now those who see the mural will not know the names of all those who contributed, but they will see a stunning work of art and know this is an inspired community that loves creativity, art and working together to make their vision happen.

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