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Volume 26, Number 6 — June 2019

Fantasy Mural sprinkled with Stardust

A small detail from the 200-foot mural.
A small detail from the 200-foot mural.

November 01, 2006

In cooperation with the William King Regional Arts Center and a slew of local artists of all ages, Abingdon Cinemall is the center of a community arts project depicting characters from various fantasy films across the building's exterior. The mural is to be completed by March, in time for the world premiere of Stardust, a major motion picture starring Clare Danes, Robert deNiro, and Michelle Pfeiffer, among others.

The mural project is spearheaded by Pat Jessee, manager of Adult Education and Community Programs at the Arts Center, and Charles Vess, Abingdon studio artist who was the illustrator and coauthor (with New York Times Bestseller Neil Gaiman) of Stardust. Cinemall owner Steve Weston recently completed painting the outside wall for the mural's background. Vess finished the sketch of characters, and Jessee organized the first meeting of artists.

"Charles' concept is a creative masterpiece that gives artists the opportunity to work together on a single large-scale project," said Weston, "and one that will serve as a monumental display to Abingdon's commitment to the arts."

A steering committee of supervising artists will guide area residents in four-hour work shifts to take the drawing from a 17x84-inch sheet of paper to a 20x200-foot wall painting. Groups that have agreed to participate include art classes at Abingdon High School, Virginia Highlands Community College, Emory & Henry College and Southwest Virginia Community College. In addition, individual artists of all ages and abilities have been recruited.

The mural layout includes classic and contemporary characters from Wallace & Grommet, Finding Nemo, Madagascar, Shrek, Totoro, Spirited Away, Cinderella, 101 Dalmatians, The Triplets of Belleville, Pirates of the Caribbean, Bugs Bunny, The Little Mermaid, The Lord of the Rings, Jimmy Neutron, Star Wars, Wizard of Oz, Toy Story and many more.

In a whimsical tribute to two beloved and influential Abingdon artists who passed away this past April, George Chavatel and Lou Crabtree will be characterized as the Pied Piper and Mother Goose figures (respectively), leading the parade of characters.

In the planning stages are a fundraising gala and special opening reception for Stardust to be held at the Cinemall as a benefit for the Arts Center's Artist Studio Fund, Washington County (VA) Public Library, and Appalachian Sustainable Development. Underwriters and other community support for the Fantasy Mural and Opening Reception Fundraiser are actively being sought. If you'd like to have a role in this community project, contact Pat Jessee at 276-628-5005.

Topics: Art, Film