By LISA WHALEY
Four new murals have gone up in Jonesborough, and the message they relay, according to local artist Bill Bledsoe, is definitely one of family and community.
“There are certain projects that are perfect for community involvement and this is one of them,” said Bledsoe, who has been the artist in charge of the Jonesborough murals since the project began.
Bledsoe, who teaches art at Providence Academy, once again relied on his students to give the murals that special Jonesborough touch this year.
But this time, he said, he decided to do things a little differently.
“It’s like anything else,” Bledsoe said. “After you do it a while, you find a way to make it better.”
So for the 2016 murals — each spotlighting a season and currently on display next to Boone Street Market — he tried to keep his modifications to a minimum, letting the young artists’ styles shine through more clearly.
He still came back at the end to refine the overall look, he said, but he was less concerned about each panel matching in style and technique.
The result, Bledsoe believes, is something truly outstanding — not only for the students who participated, but also for the visitors who travel down Boone Street each and every day.
“It has a sense of endearment,” he said, adding that students had also included their names in the artwork and felt a strong sense of pride and ownership with the project.
To McKinney Center Director Theresa Hammons, that sense of pride also showcases what is right about Jonesborough.
“It says a lot about what our town represents,” she said. “It says our town is supportive of the arts — not only visual arts but also cultural arts, storytelling and more.”
The mural project also continues to promote a community filled with families who care, she said.
“You get a good down-home feeling when you see these murals,” she said. “They represent what Jonesborough appreciates.”
This will probably be the last year students will be involved in the mural project, according to Bledsoe. But he doubts it will be the last time many of these students will play a role in the arts.
“They ended up learning so much,” he said. “They learned about colors and that green grass isn’t just green paint.”
Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that once again the mural offers such a captivating entrance into Jonesborough.
“It gives tourists and local visitors alike a beautiful impression as they enter the town,” Hammons said.