Local artist Becky Pico, a member of the Community Artists League in Athens, is working on creating a new mural celebrating the history of the City of Etowah.

According to Etowah Arts Commission Executive Director Heather Vanskiver, the mural will be placed on the side of the Nancy Cantrell Dender Gallery, which is adjacent to the Gem Theater on Tennessee Avenue in Etowah.

“We actually do not have a particular end date in mind but we are hoping to have it done by the 4th of July weekend,” Vanskiver said. “With the weather being like it has been we have dropped the date off of the end at the moment.”

The work on the mural started last week, however due to rain in the area the only the base coat had been applied as of press time.

The theme of the mural will be bluegrass due to the Etowah Bluegrass Festival being cancelled as a result of COVID-19.

“We still had the project funding in the grant from the Tennessee Art Commission and they were encouraging us to find a way to use it,” Vanskiver said. “We decided to look for the possibility of public art because we didn’t know how long COVID would last and we wanted something that could be a permanent installation for the town regardless of circumstances and can be enjoyed by everyone.”

She believes the mural will benefit the community based on Etowah’s “really good” bluegrass history.

“Because we were replacing the festival with a public art piece, we decided to aim for Etowah’s bluegrass history and the idea was to bring the community together with their bluegrass music and be able to incorporate the mural in future bluegrass festivals,” she noted. “I just want to tie in the area’s past and pull it to today for the next generation to see it and become aware of it.”

She hopes that the mural will help bring more people into the downtown Etowah area.

“I really want to get people to come closer to the gallery and make it more visible,” she expressed. “The Cantrell Dender Gallery has reopened. We have Crayola challenge art show, children’s crafts and the gallery is open on Sundays now for visitors and perhaps arts and crafts time for their children.”

Email shane.duncan@


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