Our View: Murals enhance our communities




Trends, being what they are, can be met with approval or dismay. It's often a matter of personal preference.


But there is one trend in the Golden Triangle that appears to have no serious critics -- murals.


Over the past five years, more than a dozen murals have been painted in Columbus, Starkville and West Point. Most have been painted on private property, with the full support of the city leaders.



The most recent mural, painted over the course of a couple of days in May by Columbus native Frances Berry and Los Angeles artist "Captain," adorns roughly 200 feet on a brick wall on Waterworks Road.


It's a whimsical black-and-white painting that Berry calls "a touch of fun."


Yet as we consider the range of murals that have recently adorned otherwise drab buildings, we recognize that this artwork goes beyond whimsy.


As long as there have been walls, there have been murals. Historically they have served a useful purpose. In America of the 19th and early 20th Century, murals were often used as advertising, and fading vestiges of those advertisements can still be seen today on older buildings.


Today's murals are not overt advertisements, but they do promote something. We believe the presence of these murals say something about how a community views itself. It suggests a pride of place and a spirit of optimism. It literally brightens our landscape and has a pleasant affect on passers-by.


That is an idea that has been long recognized. For 10 years, during the depth of the Great Depression, the U.S. Postal Service commissioned hundreds of murals to be painted in post offices throughout the country. One of those murals adorns the Columbus post office on Main Street. The murals, which were awarded to artists on a competitive basis, were considered an important way to lift morale during a difficult period in our history.


We heartily approve of the spirit these murals represent and are pleased to note that the quality of artwork seems to be improving, which is a natural result in any trend. With each new mural, the stakes are raised.


We welcome their arrival and look forward to seeing what our muralists will dream up next.




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