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July 24, 2014

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Robert Johnson's mural in Blowing Rock. Photo by Jeff Eason

Originally published: 2014-07-11 13:22:35
Last modified: 2014-07-11 13:23:18

Downtown mural reinstalled

Staff Reports

When the Capel Rug building on Main Street recently sold, the new owner began a complete renovation, including not only the inside retail space but also the stucco and paint on the outside of the building.  While this update was definitely needed, there was one major challenge:  the Robert Johnson mural which was affixed to the building would need to be removed in order to complete the work satisfactorily.

Robert Johnson is a renowned North Carolina artist from Burnsville, NC who was commissioned by the  Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM) in 2006 to create a piece of outdoor art that could be given to the Town. Johnson’s work is widely admired; he was pleased to come to Blowing Rock to produce our town’s first mural. After spending time in the surrounding wilderness, he recreated the plants and trees he observed for the Blowing Rock painting. Dedicated to the lifelong preservation efforts of Hugh Morton, the mural depicts the Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain and many other species of plant life.

Gwen Steele, the real estate broker representing the buyer of the property, contacted the Museum, to discuss the renovation project.  She learned that the artwork was painted onto nine aluminum panels that were attached to a wooden frame and could easily be removed.  The Museum took the panels down and stored them while the renovation was completed.

Working with general contractor Kevin Troyer and Kenny Kaufman of 4 Forty-Four, Inc., David Harwood from BRAHM then arranged for the panels to be carefully replaced on the newly restored building. The dedication plaque was also returned to the side of the building, and thanks to the efforts of many participants, the popular artwork can again be enjoyed by all visitors to our downtown.

For more information, call the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum at (828) 295-9099.

For more information and stories, see The Blowing Rocket.

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