AMT @ Wise, VA

Featured: Historic Mural Art
"The Powell Valley Overlook"
The Inn at Wise
Wise, VA

Exit BR Parkway MilePost: 294
  Mural Artist: Lois Bartlett Tracy (1901-2008)
Mural Restored 2014: Teresa Robinette
Mural Photo by: Bonnie Aker
Trail Member/Sponsor: Wise County Industrial
Development Authority

Mural Descriptions

    Featured Mural - "The Powell Valley Overlook" is a tribute to area artist Lois Tracy and she is believed to be Wise's first visionary artist. She is also remembered as part of the conversation that founded the local college once Clinch Valley College and today known as UVA Wise.

The mural "The Powell Valley Overlook" located at the Inn at Wise was painted in the late 50s or early 60s, while Lois and her husband were Innkeepers there at this time. The Powell Valley Overlook is proof that not all scenic overlooks are the same. This overlook stands high on the side of a mountain range on the main road from Norton to Big Stone Gap overlooking the lush valley below. Farms, homes, and wide open fields cover the valley floor. Day or night this is a place to visit for an amazing view.

For the past 100 years, the Inn at Wise has been a landmark for Southwest Virginia residents, but in the recent past has fallen into disrepair and neglect. The Wise County Industrial Development Authority purchased the building in December 2007 and since then has done a complete restoration of the Inn at Wise to return it to it's past uniqueness.

The Inn at Wise stands as a monument to the turn of the century development for timber, rail and coal industries which has made the town of Wise what it is today. The Inn at Wise is considered one of the most important pieces of a puzzle to tourism development for all of Southwest Virginia."
     Read the Inn's full story Here
  Mural Artist: Lois Bartlett Tracy (1901-2008)
  Location: 110 E. Main St

Artists Bio

    Lois Bartlett Tracy
Lois Bartlett Tracy was born on December 9, 1901 and died on April 8, 2008 at the age of 106. Hers is an artist's legacy. Her work hangs in some of the worlds finest art museums. She left the world a more colorful, richer place. Rather than tell you her story, we thought that she could do a better job:

Biography below is written by Lois Tracy herself:
I was born in Jackson, Michigan on December 9, 1901. By age three my favorite activity was picking up gravel and stones and watching their colors and shapes when placed in jars of water. I spent hours admiring how beautiful they looked. Even now I love rocks. They talk to me. Trees have always talked to me too. I believe my paintings came into being from my feeling one with nature.

Because Mother's health was poor, we could not spend winters in the North. When I was young, we often traveled to Florida by train with a change in Chicago. I remember when I was about six or seven, jumping off the train and running towards the Chicago Museum. There was one particular painting on the first floor to the right that was painted with very thick layers of paint. I fell in love with that thick texture. It left me with a glow of satisfaction. I decided right then and there I was going to be a painter.

For the most part, we children were taught at home but we learned History by traveling to Civil War battlefields where my father paid old men to tell local stories. We learned Geography by learning the names of rivers and cities as we explored them. We had an art teacher once when I was about six, but there was no color. The only material we had was sepia, and that did not inspire me.

College in the 1920's
I didn't have another art teacher until I was a freshman at Florida State College for Women in 1920- 21. Since the College was for women only, all subjects were simply branches of Home Economics. Painting was not taught. We were not allowed to speak to any male, not even the father of a roommate. They would line us up to go to the picture show and count us off as we came out. I often felt like I was in prison. I rebelled against these attitudes towards the education of women by cutting my long wavy golden hair to a short bob. I left and entered Michigan State College soon after women were first admitted there.

At Michigan, my painting teacher just let me go ahead on my own. I started using oil paints and would paint everything I saw. We were both startled by my work. To the amazement of us both, he soon informed me that I was painting just the way those wild men in Paris (Van Gogh, Cezanne, etc.) were painting.

Selling Art in the Early Days
By the time the Depression came along, I was married and living in Winter Park, Florida, attending Rollins College. To help with our support, I sold pictures of palm trees, five dollars a tree. If there were three trees in the painting, it was fifteen dollars. Then I painted the buildings on Rollins campus for my 1929 yearbook.

In the 30's, in Venice, Florida, certain scenes would just cry out to be painted. When a field of cabbages asked me to paint it, I realized that cabbage leaves are just as beautiful as a field of flowers. Mostly, I painted the Florida jungles. In the morning I used to ride out to a Florida ranch on a cow pony (a rather small, tough, horse used to drive the cattle - Florida used to have the second largest number of cattle of all the States). The cowboys would leave me in a hammock and continue on to their day's work. I would paint there all day until they would pick me up on their way back in the afternoon. I would usually have enough done on two 30x 36 or 36 x 40 canvases that I could finish them up at home.

    Teresa Robinette
Teresa Robinette's art form is currently based on her love of Southwestern Virginia. She has been involved in the creation and restoration of over 77 murals throughout the US.
Education:  Virginia Commonwealth University ● Bachelor of Communication Arts and Design, emphasis on painting and printmaking ● Masters of Painting and Printmaking Brera Academy, Milan ● Art restoration and conservation Academy of Fine Arts,Vienna ● Art theory and cultural studies Sotheby s Appraisal Certification Studies ● German/Austrian abstract expressionism, early history and authentication
Awards:  Knickerbocker Artists of America Celebrate Colorado Artists, gold medal Smithsonian funding for solo exhibit in conjunction with ETSU

Copyright © Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, Inc non-profit 2016-2099

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     AMT @ Wise, VA

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     AMT @ Wise, VA


    comment by: Gloria
Love, love, love ❤ all the art we saw and experienced while in Asheville!!Laura

    comment by: Lois
Brilliant way to allow visitors to enjoy the sites and sounds that Asheville has to offer.

    comment by: Rebecca&Susan
We just loved all of the murals in Asheville! Asheville is a fun vibrant interesting town!

    comment by: Catherine Wilson
    (Asheville, NC)

As a member of Carolina Street Mural group, I learned about The Appalachian Mural Trail! After reviewing your web page. I planned my road trips to locate the trail murals, reflect on them and photograph memories of my trip!

    comment by: Tammy Compton
    (Fort Myers, Florida)

Love it! We went looking to take selfies with 3 and found over 20 murals!

    comment by: Angie Trapp
    (Concord, NC)

Beautiful mural in Sparta, one of my favorite places! 😊❤️

    comment by: Debra
    (Falls Church City, VA)

Thanks for letting me know! What a great project!
It added cool stops to my visit and I love seeing art and the artist was around that day to meet.

    comment by: Cristy (Mountain City, TN)
We have been getting much more traffic around our murals, and a lot of it is due to the publicity from your organization!
Thank you!
We will unveil our newest (and largest) mural on September 4th.

    comment by: Cindy Hedrick Day
It's beautiful! Thank you!!!!
Awesome! You made my day! Love love love it!.
I saw the email re the Mural Trail special in process of being made. Can't wait to see it. We are working to finish our projects, exhibit changes, etc. Who knew it would take so long! But, it's soon finished!!!
Looking forward to seeing this!
Thank you again!!!

    comment by: Marcie Toomey
This is our second visit to Holy Trinity.. we always leave blessed and humbled ❤️

    comment by: Chelsea
Thank you so much for the quick response! I received my shirt and thoroughly enjoyed the trail! Thank you for all of the hard work put into this project!

    comment by: Debbie Dillion
Just came across your website and it is great! I plan to look for these murals in my travels. A phone app would be awesome.

    comment by: Carol
Lincolnton, NC, is loaded with murals! And I love them all!

    comment by: Barry & Cindy Beaulieu
we got to see the Fresco in W. Jefferson NC and is amazing ... we were on our two wheeler the Voyager... nature declares there is a God... everywhere you look... thanking ya'll so very very much...

    comment by: Vickie Sealock
    (Welcome Center Manager)

I love what you folks are doing. Several years ago we went to Exeter California to see their Mural trail. We spent hours in this little town looking at the murals and trying to find the hidden objects in each. We talked with the towns people, had lunch, shopped in the shops. I love the mural trails, and yours is going to be one of the best. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

    comment by: Liz
Art is everywhere in Asheville! This gorgeous mural of Dolly Parton by Gus Cutty is the newest mural you'll see in town. Gus created the mural with spray paint in 3 days. See it for yourself at Beauty Parade on Haywood Rd in West Asheville.

    comment by: Karen
Roanoke murals are awesome to see... love the mural with girl floating in air... the poetry one was neat!

    comment by: Big Tom
This is great mural art, will be remembered a long time...

    comment by: Bob
This is very expansive mural, covers many walls inside the cradle building. Beautiful art mural, a must see!

    comment by: Dolly
Love the big murals!!!

    comment by: Lisa Patten
I love the mural trail. It's like seeing a gift at Christmas!

    comment by: Ann Barbare
Beautiful mural of Maggie Valley

    comment by: Jennifer
Love your mural artwork! The local references, the depiction of marvelous, beautiful, and colorful nature - landscapes, birds, animals, butterflies, and glorious flowers - invites close study and is very engaging!

    comment by: Carol
Looks like progress being made! Can't wait to see the mural at Joeys.

    comment by: anonymous
Can't wait to see this beautiful mural art in person at Joey's Pancake House

    comment by: Amy
I love your little sneak-a-peek view. Need more...

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     AMT @ Wise, VA

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