Flint Energies announced today that the cities of Ellaville and Fort Valley have won grants from the Co-op’s Rural Murals program. The City of Fort Valley won two grants. Flint will award $10,000 each to the City of Ellaville, and the Austin Theater Enrichment Arts Alliance, as part of a matching grant. Both groups will invest approximately $2,500 of their own funds towards their mural project.
The Schley County mural will transform the side of the building at 28 Church Street in Ellaville, on the town’s historic courthouse square. The building is the home of Kairos PeMo’s Coffee Shop. The proposed mural will capture the spirit of the Ellaville and Schley County communities.
The first of two Fort Valley murals, titled “Bloom Where You are Planted,” will grace the east wall of 102 West Church Street. This mural will embrace the natural beauty of the camellias found at Massee Lane Gardens and lily pads known to grow wild in the Lilly Creek area of Fort Valley. Founded in 1945, the American Camellia Society is headquartered at Massee Lane Gardens in Fort Valley, where there are nine acres of camellia plantings, plus more than 20 acres devoted to specialty gardens and collections.
The second Fort Valley mural, “Butterfly Breezeway” will be at 115 East Main Street and will build upon the theme of the first mural and an ongoing public art project of butterfly wing installations across Peach County. Complementing this mural will be at least two of the butterfly wing installations, created by local artist Verneen Hill. These murals will be the third and fourth Rural Murals projects to assist with Fort Valley’s downtown revitalization efforts.
Both winning organizations have contracted with premier muralist Chris Johnson of Columbus. Since 2017, Chris has painted more than 50 murals across the Southeast. View examples of Chris’ mural work and community projects at his website, www.chrisjmfa.com.
The Rural Murals program, which began in 2019, establishes a collaboration between Flint Energies and the local, rural community to create outdoor murals that carry lasting impact, spark economic development and are the focal point of community discussion. The focus is to celebrate the unique history and diversity of our local rural communities. It is vital to establishing a strong sense of place for residents by creating suitable and recognizable murals within a community/downtown. The Rural Murals program intends to increase the number of public murals across Flint’s service territory while supporting the incredibly talented artist community within Middle Georgia. Flint Energies will identify and partially fund the projects that highlight positive images of Middle Georgia’s history and culture through an application process.
The program’s murals are designed to bring travelers off main interstates to travel the backroads…off the beaten path to discover the vast resources our area has to offer. Money spent in the towns that host the murals will directly benefit those areas, as the funds are given by visitors and not long-time residents.
“We are delighted to partner with both Ellaville and Fort Valley on this year’s mural projects and hope they continue to transform not only the economies but the lives of residents in each of these communities as our other murals have done,” says Marian McLemore, Flint’s Vice President of Cooperative Communications. Previous Rural Murals projects are located at
- 100 North Sumter Street, Oglethorpe
- South Matthews Street, Roberta
- 4 West Main Street, Butler
- 20 South Broad Street, Butler
- 110 South Camellia Blvd., Fort Valley
- 104 East Church Street, Fort Valley
- 111 North Broad Street, Buena Vista
Earlier this year, Flint Energies invited rural communities located in the Co-op’s service territory to apply for the Rural Murals grant. Flint Energies’ service area encompasses parts of Bibb, Chattahoochee, Crawford, Dooly, Harris, Houston, Macon, Marion, Monroe, Muscogee, Peach, Schley, Sumter, Talbot, Taylor, Twiggs and Upson counties. In March, the Cooperative received several grant applications. The top three scoring mural ideas were funded.