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SUBMITTED by Gene Bavis (22-Mar-2013)

Peanut Farmer Mural, Colquitt, GA
Artist Charlie Johnston
My wife and I recently returned from a trip to Florida and Georgia. While in Georgia, we stumbled on the little town of Colquitt. They have a dozen or more murals on the sides of buildings portraying the history of their little town. It was quite impressive. The one mural that "knocked our socks off" was on the side of four peanut silos. It represented peanut and cotton farming in southwest Georgia. Then we learned that Dothan, AL had quite a few murals, so we decided to go see them. Again, we were impressed.

I am a retired social studies teacher that got involved in Wayne County history back in the early 1970's In 1972, I was named Co-Chair of the Wayne County Sesquicentennial. Out of that, several teachers organized the Wayne County Student History Jamboree which ran for 30 years. In 1975, I was involved with the formation of the Walworth Historical Society, and I am still active with them. In 1977, I was appointed Walworth Town Historian, and since that date I have served either as Town Historian or Deputy Town Historian.

Winston's Dream
Lyons, N.Y.
When we returned home after our trip, I contacted Mark De Cracker to learn more about the murals that are here in Wayne County. I had seen a few, but was not aware of the fact that we have at least 30 in existence already.

In further conversations with Mark, it was mentioned that it would be a great thing to make Wayne County the "Mural County" of the nation. If we could get a mural in every town, village and hamlet in the county that would be worth seeing! Promoting that on a state and national level could bring in major tourist dollars. Furthermore, it would promote both local pride and local history. The theme of Mural Mania here is Wayne County is “The Preservation of History through Community Art.” Visiting sites like this is what is referred to as Cultural Heritage Tourism. Governor Coumo has announced that we will be spending a million dollars this next year in promoting Cultural Heritage tourism. A group that I belong to is the New York Cultural Heritage Tourism Network. We, too, are promoting visits to historic sites to help people learn about our heritage. Murals would be a great enhancement.

Artist Corky Goss
I am enthused about the prospects of become "Mural County, USA." I hope you will visit the Mural Mania website (www.muralmania.org) and support local efforts to "mural" the county.


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