Nonprofits plan three murals around Brunswick

·3 min read

Sep. 10—Brunswick residents will soon see three new murals adorning buildings in the city.

Sheila Pree Bright, a photographic artist from Atlanta, is providing the imagery for all three murals, two of which will be painted by New York-based artist B.K. Foxx while the third is in the hands of Brunswick native Roderrick Davis.

The project is being funded by Living Walls, a nonprofit aiming to create "inclusive, intentional, thought-provoking public art to inspire social change," according to its website, and New Georgia Project, another nonprofit dedicated to getting "historically marginalized voters." Both are based in Atlanta.

The three murals will go up on a wall of First African Baptist Church on Amherst Street, just off Gloucester, Bright said, on the side of a city administration building at 503 Mansfield St. and on a utility building in Ahmaud Arbery Park on Townsend Street.

"Living Walls will be coming in this weekend to prime the walls, and Foxx will start painting (in Ahmaud Arbery Park) on Monday," said Bright.

When all three are done, Bright said Living Walls will hold an unveiling event.

"We're going to have an unveiling, we're working on that right now, to bring all communities together," Bright said.

She's visited Brunswick a few times already to get a feel for the area and the people. She met with retired Glynn County educator Robert Griffin, Brunswick NAACP President Sharon Blue Lee and Glynn County Commissioner Allen Booker, among others.

Her family is originally from Waycross, she said, but moved around because her father was in the U.S. military. Doing some research she discovered her uncle moved to Brunswick.

The mural in Arbery Park will pay tribute to its namesake, who was murdered in the Satilla Shores neighborhood in February 2020.

The mural, which will feature a child running and holding his father's hand, was inspired by Arbery and by a quote from author James Baldwin.

"There's a quote he has that says 'Not everything that can be faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it's faced,'" Bright said. "The imagery that's going into the park is symbolic of Ahmaud. It's about moving forward and resilience."

The one planned for Mansfield Street will focus on Georgia Gibbs, one of the co-founders of the Brunswick NAACP, while one of the early presidents of the association, Julius C. Hope, will stand large on the Amherst and Gloucester mural, Bright said.

The Brunswick City Commission voted Wednesday to allow the mural on the Mansfield building, but City Manager Regina McDuffie said the city is not financially supporting the project.

"The thing that we were approving was the use of a wall on a city building. The project itself, it's not any funding from the city," McDuffie said. "We did vet it through the process the murals project used years ago and made sure it met all the requirements and made sure historic preservation was approving it."

Along with the 15 or so other murals in the area, McDuffie says it plays well into a plan the city developed to boost tourist attraction in the city.

"Part of it was the historic aspect of the African American community and preservation," McDuffie said. "I think this would be part of that, as we start to organize and develop that particular aspect of tourism ... There are a lot of things that are being done by individuals that can be recognized as part of the development of tourism for the city."