Murals depict bees, strawberries and images of Arkansas on the Cabot Art Walk
POOCH — Downtown Cabot had its first public mural just two years ago. Today, an array of outdoor art adorns County Lonoke’s largest town.
The paintings provide a new example of a trend that continues to spread across Arkansas and other states.
A downtown strip of 22 panels are collectively labeled “Mini-Murals”. Stretching along a concrete wall less than a meter high, the small images make up the Cabot Art Walk. Six freestanding murals are much bigger and even more eye-catching. All locations, within several blocks, are marked on a printable map at cabotart.com.
The first major mural, “The Postcard”, was completed in June 2020 near the northeast end of the Art Walk. He touts the community as the “Strawberry Capital of Arkansas.” Each of the city’s five capital letters contains an image: an Air Force cargo plane, ripe strawberries and their blossoms, the school’s panther mascot, a diesel engine, an Arkansas flag.
“Some of the smaller murals were painted earlier in 2020,” says Rebecca Williams, vice president of the nonprofit Cabot Foundation for Arts and Culture. “Due to the pandemic, the completion of all Art Walk images has been somewhat delayed this first year. But we have accomplished a lot so far.”
Many “Mini-Murals” artists offer brief commentaries on their paintings to cabotart.com. Sarah Wells, from nearby Austin, describes her portrait of a black hand and a white hand with linked little fingers as “designed to be bold and whimsical. The pinky promise here is between night and day It’s a very light depiction but could easily be interpreted as something more serious.”
Glenda Krauss, who created “The Postcard”, is a nationally acclaimed muralist based in Indiana. His painting at 114 W. Pine St., near one end of the Cabot Art Walk, decorates an old fire station on space donated by the city of Cabot. Funds for his work and the other large murals were provided by the Cabot Advertising and Promotions Commission.
The happiest of the great works, titled “Community,” was painted by Jason White on the McGue Law Firm building at 301 W. Main St. It depicts objects that resonate locally, including a strawberry as big as the panther mascot posed alongside. . An impending touch in the background is the funnel of a tornado.
A wall in the Cabot Meat Market, 119 N. Adams St., displays a major Wells mural. At the request of the owners of the shop, the painting “Milk and Honey” shows a dairy cow as well as several honeycombs and scattered bees.
“I had to do something modern and fun that would make people want to come here and see it,” Wells told a Democrat-Gazette reporter after completing the mural. His family owned a dairy farm in County Lonoke in the 1950s, “and I thought adding the bees was a cool way to get a new twist.”
A human heart is at the center of the Jessica Jones mural on a wall of the Melikian Building across from “The Postcard” at one end of the Art Walk. Intertwining the Heart is a floral bouquet meant to symbolize the tragedy that blossoms into inheritance. A co-sponsor of the painting is Walk for Wheezy, a non-profit organization created to raise money and awareness for Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
“We’re always looking for opportunities for more public art, including more murals,” said Williams of the Cabot Foundation for Arts and Culture. “Although there are none underway at the moment, we hope that next year will bring two or three more large-scale murals to Cabot.”