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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

Mural Trail adds new murals

Lucile Blanch painted this mural, entitled “Appalachia,” in Appalachia’s post office as part of the WPA New Deal.
Lucile Blanch painted this mural, entitled “Appalachia,” in Appalachia’s post office as part of the WPA New Deal.

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | January 30, 2019

The Appalachian Mural Trail has recently added two of the Town of Appalachia’s murals to its growing trail of cultural mural art. One is a WPA New Deal mural painted in 1940 by famed artist Lucile Blanch entitled “Appalachia” located in the town’s post office. Blanch painted the scene while staying in the busy town of Appalachia, a thriving coal town at that time. The mural reflects the busy commerce of the day. She was a highly acclaimed artist, one of the few artists to receive a Guggenheim fellowship and also employed to paint a mural. She received the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1933, and from that point on her art was collected and shown in a number of important galleries, notably the Whitney Museum. Later on she helped build the Woodstock Art colony in New York.

Blanch stayed in a hotel in Appalachia while painting the “Appalachia” New Deal mural. The only remaining piece of the hotel is a retaining wall. That wall is in process of becoming a large-scale mural that depicts the history of the town, images that include the trains, the coal camps and the activity of the past 100 years. Teresa Robinette is painting a new mural on that remaining wall. Robinette is an enthusiastic Appalachian artist who has a Master of Fine Arts degree plus a degree in art restoration and has worked on more than 74 murals throughout the United States. She is also a new representative for the Appalachian Mural Trail for Virginia, West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and Tennessee.

Murals of central Appalachia are treasures just waiting to be re-discovered. These cultural murals are relevant to a time period left behind and will find their place in the history of art in our nation. The Appalachian Mural Trail has created a platform to view and visit these works of art at muraltrail.com.

Topics: Art