Citizens work together to paint mural, led by Alabama artist
Published 2:00 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2022
By Haley Mitchell Godwin
Excitement and creativity filled the air when citizens came together on April 2 and 3 to paint a new mural on the side of the Johnson Furniture building located at 200 W Commerce Street. Volunteers, led by Trés Taylor of Selma, a contemporary self-taught painter and folk art artist, converted a solid white brick wall into a masterpiece, entitled “Tea for Tiger.”
The mural is part of the “Revolution of Joy” (ROJ) project, a series of uplifting murals throughout the Black Belt area of Alabama. Greenville was the eighth stop on the tour. ROJ is a collaboration between Taylor and Can’d Aid, a Colorado-based nonprofit that works to provide access to and cultivate a love of art, music, and culture in rural communities.
The mural, designed by Taylor and outlined with charcoal, was painted by members of the community. According to Inette Jackson, director of His Hands and Feet Ministry in Greenville, a Christian based ministry and home where those with chemical dependencies can transition back into society as productive members of the community, the mural will help to make Greenville an even better place to live and work.
“We need to continue having activities such as this that bring people of all kinds together and make a statement here in Greenville that we stand together,” Jackson said “These kinds of events help us to become an even stronger and more united community and I think this mural represents this town and the spirit of Greenville. I am honored to have been part of making this remarkable statement. It really is a joy revolution because I went away filled with peace and joy.”
Painting alongside Jackson, who said she had more fun than the children she brought, were her grandkids, the youth from Perfecting Holiness Nondenominational Church (PHNC), and youth from First Assembly.
Cemira M. Powell, of Greenville, is grateful that after 20 years of commuting to other areas for work, she can now work in her hometown where according to Powell, just like with the mural, “many wonderful and talented people have accomplished so much by banding together in love for this community.”
“Greenville is a wonderful small town where everyone brings something different to the table, but the collective gifts and talents are what make this diverse community strong. The many who take pride in the beautification of Greenville and the wonderful support for this project was demonstrated by the number of people who turned out to paint. This mural will be on that wall for many years to come to represent that love of community.” Powell said. “The story behind the mural was about the love of this community and how it works together and solves problems. Our answer to any problem is, was, and will be simply to love. The story illustrates how we all show our love in different ways, but together our love is strong. I think it accurately captures the love we the people have for Greenville, I personally hope that people will use these same gifts, talents, and time to solve any other issues faced in this community – things such as the betterment of the school system, new businesses (so our hard-earned dollars are spent in Greenville supporting each other), and activities for our youth that stimulate and engage them in healthy ways”
Danan Whiddon, owner of Sweet Heart Alabama, an alternative & holistic health service, is excited about the mural trail Greenville is building and said that last weekend’s events will prove to provide much positivity.
“This is the fourth major mural in Greenville and our mural trail really adds to downtown and makes it so vibrant. The trail draws people into town and then they see what else we have to offer. There was an amazing sense of community last weekend; that is Greenville. I hope our sense of community continues to grow,” Whiddon said.
Magoo Price Hamilton of Greenville is a lover of folk art and has a few folk-art pieces by Taylor. After reading about the ROJ project, she reached out to Taylor and while outlining the rich cultural history of Greenville, influenced his decision to paint a mural in Greenville. Hamilton said that after Taylor and the three volunteers from Can’d Aid laid out the outline, it was like a gigantic coloring book.
According to Hamilton, those that came to paint were given a cup of paint filled with a specific color, a paint brush, and were directed to the area to paint. Taylor later came back and added the faces.
Taylor writes a fable to go along with each mural. In each fable there is an unsung hero. The “Tea for Tiger ” story is about a runaway tiger that is saved by his community. Taylor said that the unsung heroes in this fable are the people of Greenville, the people that work hard to support all members of the community. A link to read the fable will soon be released.
For more information about Taylor and his “Revolution of Joy” project, visit https://www.trestaylor.com/shop. Learn about Can’d Aid and sign up to help paint future murals at https://candaid.org/.