The sun beats down, drying paint on my brush before I can even reach the wall in front of me. The scissor lift beeps as we move up to the top of the wall, providing a unique view of the tops of the Marietta Square's buildings. A train rolls past, blaring its horn in greeting as we turn and wave.
"It looks amazing! It's just what these walls have needed! Thank you!" These were just a few of the phrases we heard as my mother and I painted murals on a number of walls around the Historic Marietta Square. I helped paint four of the twelve murals that were painted for the inaugural Mountain to River Trail Festival, a celebration of public art, with not just the mural installations, but also a sculpture garden, as well as dancers, musicians, and performers expressing their creativity around Marietta.
Two of the murals we painted were direct references to the history of the Marietta Square: Big Little Chickens, a whimsical reference to the building's previous business as a feed & seed store, and The McPherson Tire Shop, which was taken from a mid-20th century photograph of my great-grandfather and great-grandmother's business that was once on the same property. The other two murals were a fun piece, an optical illusion of a black and white swirling vortex, and what I hope will become an icon of the Marietta Art Scene, our town's name emblazoned in juicy, bright lettering on a black background.
This was an amazing expression of art, and I felt so blessed to be a part of the team that worked to kick start what Marietta has needed for so long. As tiring as the work was, it was worth it to see art meeting history in our little town, and to hear the huge outpouring of excitement and support from everyone who visited the Square and saw what we were working on. Even if all of the murals were painted over tomorrow, I would still feel satisfied that I was a part of such a cool contribution to my town.