"$50,000 Grant Awarded for Public Mural Art "
Press Release 2019
Doreyl Ammons Cain
Director, Appalachian Mural Trail, Subsidiary of Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, non-profit 501c3
Dateline: Western North Carolina/Virginia
The Z Smith Reynolds Foundation has recently announced 10 grant awards for
"Inclusive Public Art" in the state of North Carolina and is partnering with
UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina to capture and document the experiences and
conversations of all ten grantee communities as they undergo the process of
telling these important stories through public art.
One of these awards of $50,000 has been issued to a group of collaborators in
Robbinsville, Graham County North Carolina, REVVED UP: Robbinsville Envisioning
Vital Vibrant Economic Development and Urban Prosperity.
When Michelle Shiplet of REVVED UP met with Doreyl Ammons Cain, artist & director
of the Appalachian Mural Trail, she had no idea this grant would be in their future.
She had a plan for developing historical murals for her town of Robbinsville and had
no clue where to start. During the meeting with Cain she realized the town’s first
step was to join the Appalachian Mural Trail. Through this interaction the
opportunity arose to apply for the Z Smith Reynolds Inclusive Public Art grant.
Shiplet’s first thought for the grant proposal was the Beloved Women of the
Snowbird Cherokee Community.
In December of 2018 Shiplet was informed that the Beloved Women of the Snowbird
Community mural proposal was a semi-finalist in the grant process and they would
be given funds to develop a budget, plan and a first rough draft of the artwork for
the mural. She asked Doreyl Ammons Cain of the Appalachian Mural Trail and Tj Holland,
Cultural Resources Supervisor for the Eastern Band of the Cherokee to be lead artists
for the project. During the next three months this creative team met with the Snowbird
Community, listened to their stories and Cain came up with the first rough draft
of the mural and assisted with the planning of the mural project. The art and plan
was submitted in early April. On June 4, 2019 the announcement was made, the
Beloved Women of the Snowbird Community mural is becoming a reality.
The Appalachian Mural Trail will provide the structure for a community engaged
process that creates opportunity for accomplished and emerging Snowbird Cherokee
artists to receive training in muralism and who will ultimately be central to
painting the artwork. Cain will lead three workshops in mural painting. This
will also provide opportunities for direct descendants to paint the portraits
of their ancestors, which will result in the creation of true storytelling
public mural art. A kiosk will be a part of the mural where people can listen
to the stories about the Beloved Women spoken in both English and Cherokee
languages. The kiosk will be connected to the Appalachian Mural Trail website.
This mural project celebrates the achievements and recognition of the women
of the Snowbird Cherokee community in this collaborative mural to be located
in the town center of Robbinsville. This mural intends to build relationships
and trust across lines of difference while celebrating an under told and
important story. The Snowbird Cherokee are a community that is part of the
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, whose land base is in Graham County. While
most mainstream shared knowledge about the Cherokee centers around their removal
via the "Trail of Tears," the Snowbird Cherokee carry the reputation of resilience
and tradition, having hidden in their mountains to escape the forced removal of
their people. That same spirit of pride and survival remains with them to this
day and there is no better evidence than in the lives of their many strong and
gifted women. The Cherokee people have long celebrated a traditional way of
honoring those within their community who have displayed a true love and
concern for their people and the preservation of their culture, history, and
nation. The revered title of "Beloved Man" or "Beloved Woman" is given only
to those who epitomize the qualities expected of a Cherokee. Snowbird
Cherokee women have proven to be strong, wise, fearless, and filled
with creativity as they have persevered through the trials of history.
This remarkable community mural will bring these qualities alive for all to see.
"The honoring of our stories through the arts is the core essence of the Appalachian
Mural Trail’s vision and now is becoming a reality through the hosting of community
murals in small communities to large cities throughout and around the surrounding
Appalachian Mountains," says Cain. "These murals are spotlighting the creativity
of our talented local artists, while telling much needed stories. We believe this
is enhancing our visitor's experience and uplifting community spirit!"
The Appalachian Mural Trail will be documenting the progress of the Beloved Women
of the Snowbird Community mural through photos of the process of mural development.
To see this process and to preview over 80 other cultural historical murals located
from Clay County North Carolina all the way up into Virginia, go to www.muraltrail.com
where you can read about the artists and find directions to travel and view the
murals in person.
Attached: Image of The Rough Draft of the Beloved Women of the Snowbird Community
mural, by artist, Doreyl Ammons Cain
"This artwork is based on meetings with the Snowbird Community. Each meeting
realized more understanding of the depth of their traditions. The symbols that
are depicted holding each Beloved Woman in a place of dignity are Cherokee images
that signify ‘where she stands is a place of heart & home.’ The swirls represent
water and the cross signifies the center of the universe," says Cain.