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ARKANSAS SIGHTSEEING: Murals depict bees, strawberries and Arkansas imagery on the Cabot Art Walk

Walled up emotions by Jack Schnedler | January 25, 2022 at 1:59 a.m.
The Cabot Art Walk extends along a low wall in the city’s downtown. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette/Marcia Schnedler)


CABOT — Downtown Cabot got its first public mural only two years ago. Now a panoply of outdoor art adorns Lonoke County's largest city.

The paintings provide a fresh example of a trend continuing to spread across Arkansas and other states.

A downtown strip of 22 panels is collectively labeled "Mini-Murals." Stretching along a concrete wall less then 3 feet high, the small images make up the Cabot Art Walk. Much larger and even more eye-catching are six stand-alone murals. All locations, within a several-block radius, are marked on a printable map at cabotart.com.

The earliest big mural, "The Postcard," was completed in June 2020 near the northeast end of the Art Walk. It touts the community as "Strawberry Capital of Arkansas." Each of the city's capitalized five letters contains an image: an Air Force cargo plane, ripe strawberries and their blossoms, the high school's panther mascot, a diesel locomotive, an Arkansas flag.

"Some of the small murals were painted earlier in 2020," says Rebecca Williams, vice president of the nonprofit Cabot Foundation for Arts and Culture. "Because of the pandemic, completion of all the Art Walk images was somewhat delayed that first year. But we've achieved a lot so far."

Many artists for the "Mini-Murals" offer brief comments about their paintings at cabotart.com. Sarah Wells, from nearby Austin, describes her portrait of a Black hand and a white hand with linked little fingers as "designed to be bold and whimsical. The pinky promise here is between night and day. It's a very light-hearted depiction but could easily be interpreted as something more serious."


Glenda Krauss, who created "The Postcard," is a nationally known muralist based in Indiana. Her painting at 114 W. Pine St., near one end of the Cabot Art Walk, decorates a former firehouse on space given by the City of Cabot. Funds for her work and the other large murals were provided by the Cabot Advertising and Promotions Commission.

The jauntiest of the large works, titled "CommUnity," was painted by Jason White on the McGue Law Firm building at 301 W. Main St. It pictures objects that resonate locally, including a strawberry as large as the panther mascot poised next to it. A looming touch in the background is the funnel of a tornado.

One wall of the Cabot Meat Market, 119 N. Adams St., displays a sizable Wells mural. At the request of the shop's owners, the "Milk and Honey" painting shows a dairy cow as well as several honeycombs and scattered bees.

"I had to do something modern and fun that would make people want to come here and see it," Wells told a Democrat-Gazette reporter after she'd completed the mural. Her family had a Lonoke County dairy farm back in the 1950s, "and I thought adding the bees was a cool way to take a new spin."

A human heart is the focus of Jessica Jones' mural on a wall of the Melikian building across from "The Postcard" at one end of the Art Walk. Intertwining the heart is a floral bouquet intended to symbolize tragedy blooming into legacy. A co-sponsor of the painting is Walk for Wheezy, a nonprofit created to raise funds and awareness for Arkansas Children's Hospital.

"We are always looking for opportunities for more public art, including more murals" says Cabot Foundation for Arts and Culture's Williams. "Although there aren't any in progress at the moment, we hope the next year or so brings two or three additional large-scale murals to Cabot."

Print Headline: Walled up emotions

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