Local artist Matt Harris is helping to bring some art to his community, Delbarton, West Virginia. His wife, Christy Harris had the idea to create a mural welcoming people to Delbarton, and he took the idea to the Delbarton Convention and Visitors Bureau to get it approved shortly after. He worked with folks with the Delbarton CVB to get a grant, and he started working with Christy, and Kim McClanahan, another local artist, to make this mural happen for the community.
Bridging the Gap Between Past and Future
When it came to designing the mural, Matt wanted something that would represent the community. “I wanted something that screamed Delbarton for the locals, as well as the tourists that go through our town,” he says. “The design of the mural is of the past and present. On the left side, you have the coal train symbolizing our rich coal heritage, and on the right side, you have a SXS and trail symbolizing how tourism can be our future. In the middle, you have the historic Elk Creek bridge, “bridging” the gap between the past and the future”
The process of completing the mural has been, well, a process. “The process was long and hard,” Matt says. “I started out with a digital sketch that I came up with and got approved, and we used that, but tweaked it here and there.” They then used a projector to transfer it to the bricks. After that, it was all about the painting, which was harder than it sounds. “It was difficult due to the size, the bricks, and the heat,” Matt says. He and Kim work full time, so they did most of the mural work in the evenings and on weekends.
Matt thinks the mural can have a positive effect on the community. “I feel like it brings a smile to the area,” he says. “When you’re coming up the road, you round the curve, and bam, there it is,” Matt continues, “I hope it brings great pride to the people of Delbarton and Mingo County as a whole, and for tourists, I hope it brings a spot to stop and take a pic, and a memory for our area.”
Knowing that he brought this to the community brings him something as well. “For me, knowing I had a hand in helping make my community beautiful is a definite sense of pride, "says Matt.
Take a drive to the downtown area of Delbarton to see the mural for yourself!
Photos from Delbarton Convention and Visitors Bureau Facebook page.