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New sign brightens up downtown Anniston

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Mural couple

A 12-by-32-foot mural, 'Greetings From ANNISTON The Model City,' was unveiled Monday morning at 11th and Noble. In the motif of an old-time postcard, the mural celebrates Anniston through illustrations in the letters themselves. Shown Monday are the artists who painted the mural, Amber Burns and Dan Seymour. 

Civic pride was on full display in brilliant colors when city officials and other stakeholders unveiled a mural with an historical motif in downtown Anniston Monday morning.

The 12-by-32-foot mural, “Greetings From ANNISTON The Model City,” is mounted next to the old Courthouse Cafe building in the parking lot at 11th and Noble.

The artists who painted the mural, Amber Burns and Dan Seymour, illustrated each letter of the word ANNISTON with scenes from Anniston’s past and present. 

“We wanted to bring something bright and bold and beautiful to this awesome city. We’ve lived here for years, both of us; initially we just wanted to do some historic aspects but the more and more we sat and thought about it, we wanted to make sure we incorporated some of the newer stuff,” Burns said before the official unveiling which included a ribbon cutting. 

Regional Medical Center is represented in the letter “T” due to the hospital's due diligence during the pandemic, according to Burns. The Anniston Museums and Gardens is illustrated in one of the three “N’s” of Anniston with a dinosaur and colorful plants. 

The “O” in Anniston pays homage to the city’s love of bicycles and another “N” includes a Greyhound bus, paying tribute to the civil rights era and the tragedy of the bus burning.

Burns said the last “N” recognizes first responders and includes a tank representing Anniston’s military heritage. 

 “It's very big and we wanted people to be able to see it when they’re driving by and want to turn around and go back, ‘what was that big bright thing we just passed,’” Burns said. 

Just half a block from the construction site of the new federal courthouse, the mural is indeed likely to catch the eye of visitors on their way to that complex.

Burns said she hopes other artists will be inspired by the mural to create similar creations in the downtown area.

“The people here inspired us, we want to inspire you,” Burns said.

Anniston City Councilman Jay Jenkins said the mural was great. 

 “I think it speaks to our history, each letter tells a part of our story and I think it’s an exceptional job,” Jenkins said. 

The mural is the first step in giving the parking lot an upgrade. The parking lot will be landscaped with vegetation and a pavilion will be constructed on the Noble Street side, Jenkins said. 

Councilwoman Millie Harris spoke to the 25 or so people who gathered for the unveiling about the artists who created the sign. 

“Great job y'all, it just stands out, it’s beautiful, and I appreciate the fact you focused on all the wonderful things about Anniston, not the negative but all the positive,” Harris said. 

Jackson Hodges, Anniston Main Street director and Anniston public information officer, was also appreciative of the artists’ handiwork and the teamwork that was involved. 

“It feels like teamwork making the dream work, Dan and Amber did a tremendous job in capturing important symbolism from throughout the Model City,” said Hodges. “Our public works team was awesome with helping us build the frame to get the mural set up, we appreciate the chamber as always to help us set up, unveiling and a ribbon cutting.” 

He added, “We’re a city with a lot of passion and a lot of feeling, and so being able to see that take form in such a beautiful artistic way is very satisfying.”

David Arnett, Anniston public works director, liked the whole presentation.   

“The Main Street team did a great job in where they put it, how they put it, and then the artists, they did a great job, almost speechless,” Arnett said.