Carolina Beach Mural Project aims to bring 4 murals to island in coming years

After more than a year of planning, work has officially begun on Carolina Beach Mural Project’s first piece.
Updated: Sep. 7, 2020 at 6:03 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - After more than a year of planning, work has officially begun on Carolina Beach Mural Project’s first piece.

The group comprises nine volunteers who have planned to bring four murals to the town in the coming years.

“We had this vision of starting to put murals on buildings and our goal was to do two a year and make this a destination so people can come with their family and take photos with the murals. And eventually, we will have a map with all the murals,” said artist Susan Nuttall.

This past weekend, Nuttall worked with a team of volunteers to get the panels for the first mural primed and painted with a base coat.

The finished billboard will be 16 feet by 32 feet and will be visible to passing drivers. The installation is Nuttall’s take on a vintage postcard and will be put up beside the town hall in October, welcoming visitors coming in off the bridge.

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“I love Carolina Beach and I wanted to bring people together,” said Nuttal. “The first mural is an old postcard and I agreed to do all the artwork and sketching it as long as it can be diverse—I’m changing it because it’s outdated,” she added. “This island is diverse and I don’t want anyone to feel excluded in this mural.”

The mural will include people of different ethnicities and men will be added to the image; the original postcard only included a group of young women wearing bathing suits.

As the artist begins sketching her renderings on to the giant panels, the group is also accepting submissions to adorn the next mural site: The Veggie Wagon. The committee has been working closely with the island’s historical society to use art to tell the region’s story and remember the island’s history.

The group challenged artists to come up with a sketch that pays homage to the building’s past as a busy bait shop and another stint as a popular surf shop run by wildlife photographer Robbie Johnson.

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Next, the group will move to put a more historical piece depicting the Shoo Fly Train on the wall outside Crush and Grind. The train took people from Wilmington to Carolina Beach from the late 1800′s to the early 1900′s. According to the Carolina Beach Mural Project’s website, historians say the train got its name from the infamous biting flies and mosquitoes. Work on the Crush and Grind mural will kick off in the spring.

Once that’s completed, the group will set its sights on adding a mural to a wall at the Sea Witch Tiki Bar to be completed by early summer 2021.

“Knowledge is power and if they know the story, maybe they’ll respect the island and be a part of the island,” said Nuttall.

Nuttall hopes to involve as many people as possible in the postcard piece. The murals are all funded by donations, and the first mural will be painted by community volunteers. Sherwin Williams has already donated around $1,500 worth of paint for the first mural. TOO Construction and Tidal Wave Construction donated the building materials and will install the piece off of N. Lake Park Boulevard when it’s completed in mid-October.

Artists will be paid by the group for their work on upcoming murals. The Carolina Beach Mural Project will be accepting submissions until September 15 for the Veggie Wagon mural. After the committee reviews the submissions, the winner will have 2-3 weeks to paint the mural once the wall has been prepared. The project is expected to be revealed to the public around the end of October 2020, as well.

The call for artists for the third and fourth murals has not been released yet.

Diagram shows location of the group's first "Welcome to Carolina Beach" mural.
Diagram shows location of the group's first "Welcome to Carolina Beach" mural.(Susan Nuttall)

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