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The Daily Tar Heel

New mural to come to Carrboro

UNC graduate Michael Brown paints a mural for the City of Carrboro off of Jones Ferry Road on Tuesday afternoon.

UNC graduate Michael Brown paints a mural for the City of Carrboro off of Jones Ferry Road on Tuesday afternoon.

Well-known Chapel Hill muralist Michael Brown combined elements from 160 self-portraits drawn by local third graders to design the mural located at the intersection of Jones Ferry Road and N.C. 54, which Brown said will be completed by the end of next week.

The mural will welcome visitors to the town, said Michael Adamson, manager of the Carrboro Mural Project.

“That is easily the most heavily trafficked place in Carrboro — there are 24,000 vehicles per day passing it,” Adamson said.

The Carrboro Mural Project began in 2013 as the brainchild of Adamson’s daughter, who drove past the spot daily on her commute, Adamson said. She thought the wall at the intersection looked drab and might be a good spot for a mural.

Adamson spoke to Brown, who has painted hundreds of murals in North Carolina since the 1980s, and presented the project to the Carrboro Arts Committee and the Carrboro Board of Aldermen, both of which were overwhelmingly supportive, he said.

Students at Mary Scroggs Elementary School and Carrboro Elementary School contributed the self-portraits. Brown, who had a long career as an art teacher, worked with some of the kids to do a self-portrait class exercise.

He then used bits and pieces from each child’s artwork to create the design for the mural, which features Carrboro’s town logo and seven large, childlike portraits of children.

“I love kids’ work — you just can’t do the third grade style,” Brown said.

“You look at each child’s portrait and ask yourself ‘How does this child think, and what does this child like?’ That’s just a lot of fun for me, and I think if I get it right, there will be seven different personalities — I don’t just mean seven different faces, but seven different personalities — on the wall.”

Adamson said the mural is meant to encapsulate Carrboro’s love of diversity.

“Third graders are just the right age where they’re starting to think about themselves and their identity,” he said.

“The motivation was so that any child or any person who came past that mural would see someone who looked like themselves.”

A large number of the children who contributed self-portraits to the mural project live in the neighborhood surrounding the mural, Adamson said.

Board of Alderman member Randee Haven-O’Donnell, a liaison between the Carrboro Board of Aldermen and the mural project, said the mural reflects the ways Carrboro is changing for the better.

“It’s located at a really important place of entry into Carrboro, and it’s in an area that is transitioning in terms of how we use the space — that space is becoming more accessible by bikeways and walkways,” she said.

“Not only is it Carrboro’s expression of itself, but also an expression of its future.”

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