In case you haven’t noticed, there are some surprising moments for pedestrians in downtown Anniston, thanks to Main Street Art Project volunteers who installed murals on various buildings.
These murals were photographed from paintings and objects housed at the Anniston Museum of Natural History, the Berman Museum, the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County and the POW mural series at Remington Hall at McClellan.
Besides bringing art to the people, the murals enliven the townscape and can aid in economic development.
The idea for the project came from artist Sarah Cavender. A map for a walking tour of the murals, designed by Suzen Robertson, is available at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County.
Robertson was the arts liaison with the city of Anniston in 2016 when the project started; she now handles public art communication and creative projects for the city.
Since the murals (13 are listed) were placed on sides of buildings, or at angles, a walking expedition is more effective than driving.
The mural “Great White Herons,” photographed from a showcase exhibit at the Anniston Museum of Natural History by Anniston Star photographer Bill Wilson, is displayed to the left of Couch’s Jewelers’ entrance.
Installing this mural was labor-intensive for “some very dedicated volunteers,” Cavender said. The photo was printed by Southern Custom Exhibits on an adhesive brick film, then applied to the building using a specialized roller and heat gun.
“The Shadow,” placed at 1218 Noble St., is a photograph of a painting in the collection of the Berman Museum. The original was painted by British artist Edmund Blair Leighton. It is based upon the Greek myth of a Corinthian girl who drew a portrait of her beloved by tracing his shadow on a wall; meanwhile, the young crusader’s ship is waiting nearby, probably headed for battle. Only two museums hold copies of the original painting: the City Hall of Cardiff, Wales, and the Berman.
There are two murals representing the Remington Hall murals painted by German prisoners of war. “Man in Cloth” is at 1230 Noble St., and “Lady with Birds” at 28 W. 13th St., on the side of Varner Bail Bonds.
Look closely to find “Man in Cloth,” because it is painted on the side of a staircase on Noble Street leading up to the second floor of Trinity Ceramics. In this depiction a muscular man is at the center of men in primitive combat using barbaric weapons.
By contrast, “Lady with Birds” evokes a feeling of hope and flight, according to Robertson.
At Remington Hall, the murals were painted on the upper five feet of each wall in the former Officer’s Club Lounge at Fort McClellan. They are credited to German POWs Albin Sagadin and Herbert Bolau, who were captured and brought to Fort McClellan in 1943, according to “Restoration of POW Murals” by Catherine Gambrell Rogers.
The murals are hard to understand until you realize that they depict scenes that the POWs remembered from German history as well as the fears and dreams of soldiers of all time periods, according to Rogers’ account.
100th anniversary at Fort McClellan
Free bus tours will be offered to the public on Saturday in celebration of Fort McClellan’s centennial, 1917-2017. The tours are coordinated by the Fort McClellan Training Center, Alabama National Guard. The tours will begin from the Marshall Parade Field, according to tour coordinator SFC Robert Ray.
Also assisting in planning the tours were Van Roberts, McClellan Developmental Authority; Joan McKinney, former public affairs officer; and Leah Storino, Fort McClellan Training Center.
The same tour will be offered twice, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., on a first come, first served basis. Enter McClellan through Galloway Gate, and buses will take you to the parking location at the parade field.
The gate opens at 8:30 a.m. The opening ceremony begins at 9 a.m.
The landmarks included are the post cemetery, Piney Wood Chapel, the pet cemetery, the stables, Buckner Historic District, Buckner Event Center, Foothills Theatre, Remington Hall and the POW murals, and the German-Italian cemetery.
Items and artifacts from state and local collections will be displayed at Building 1060. The Women’s Army Corps Chapel will also be open to the public.
Wren’s Nest gallery reopens in Oxford
Wildlife art from the hand of artist Larry K. Martin has found a new permanent home at the Oxford Performing Arts Center. Martin’s gallery, the Wren’s Nest, was formerly located on the grounds of what is now the Hotel Finial in Anniston.
The official opening of the new Wren’s Nest gallery was Thursday evening, with a reception showing Martin’s works.
The gallery is on OPAC’s second floor.
Martin has exhibited throughout the United States as well as recently at OPAC’s main gallery.
The artist’s intricately detailed acrylic paintings not only capture moments in nature, they allow the viewer to observe the respect with which he treats his subjects.
“We don’t take time to appreciate all of nature,” Martin reflected. “Art is my means of sharing its beauty.”
In recent years, Martin has traveled to remote wildlife locations in South America and Africa to photograph his subjects — also with the mission of protecting endangered animals.
His art also includes familiar subjects from the Southeast, as well as some unusual, sometimes eccentric people.
Hervey Folsom writes about the local arts scene every Sunday. Contact her at email@example.com.