April 1, 2013 9:15:48 AM
Nathan Gregory - [email protected]
Visitors will see a new feature on the barn that serves as home base for the Hitching Lot Farmers' Market, which opens Saturday and will run through October.
Collaborating with a dedicated team of local county school teachers and students, market board president Katherine Munson designed a mural that represents the many amenities the market's 36 vendors will offer.
The Columbus Arts Council awarded Main Street Columbus a grant last fall to help make the mural a reality. Munson said Main Street Columbus partnered with numerous educators, including Caledonia Elementary School's Alika Logan, New Hope Middle School's Brad McDill, New Hope Elementary School's LeAnne Oglesby, Caledonia Middle School's Bradley Tate and West Lowndes Elementary School's Katie McDill for the mural project.
"At the center of the mural is a sun which includes our Hitching Lot Farmers' Market logo. My father, (Mississippi University for Women art professor emeritus) Larry Feeney, assisted with the final design, which makes the project even more meaningful," Munson said. "Also included in the design is a field filled with abundantly growing produce. This illustration is just an inkling of the variety of great produce that you will be able to find this season."
Munson, who recently launched her own freelance business in graphic design, stepped back from her responsibilities as project coordinator for Main Street after the birth of her daughter last year, but said she still frequently designs posters for Main Street events and works to uphold the standards of the market by visiting each vendor's farm. Her mixed media paintings will be on display next month at the CAC's Artist Alley.
She said her interest in art began as a child seeing her father's work and blossomed when she opted to attend MUW and major in the field. She received her B.A. in fine art with an emphasis in photography in 2009.
"My summers were spent in the old art building on (the MUW) campus surrounded by looming still life sketches, mountains of paper, calligraphy pens and oil paints," Munson said. "I am humbled that people appreciate my work as much as they do. When I stepped in the shoes at Main Street a few years back, I never would have guessed that I would have come this far both personally and professionally. Columbus has been such a great place to grow up, a fantastic place to work and an even better place to raise my child and at the same time have an opportunity to have a lasting impact."
Munson said projects such as the mural are among many ways the market board has sought to make the venue more attractive for visitors each year.
"We constantly strive to grow and improve the market," she said. "By consistently ensuring the quality of produce and artisan crafts sold at the market, we continue to help it grow. There are so many things that the market brings to our community, not only providing a more healthy shopping choice for our residents, but by also providing a community gathering place and venue for all of our like-minded healthy citizens."
The market will be open from 7-10 a.m. Saturdays only until May 11, when it will also be open Mondays from 4-6 p.m. and Thursdays from 7-10 a.m.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.