Chasing art in Decatur, Alabama is what Keith and I were doing in this lovely city. Nothing adds to a town like art. Perhaps Pablo Picasso said it best when he stated, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
I think art also helps make everyday life beautiful. That’s exactly what they are doing in Decatur, Alabama.
The first week of March, my husband Keith and I traveled to Decatur to chase art in the murals, museums, antique stores, and galleries! In this blog post, I want to explore what we found in the murals and downtown stops. We were hosted by the Decatur Morgan County CVB who brought us to town to tell the story of art in Decatur.
Morgan County Mural Trail
The MoCo Mural Trail is free and a great way to travel around town and see sites. There are 12 murals that are all part of the Chasing Art Project. We found all of the murals but one. They are all unique and tucked away in different parts of town. In some cases two murals are together. Some murals are close to one another, and some are further away like the mural Peace, Love and Antiques which is outside of Decatur in the town of Hartselle.
Don’t dismay, though, the trip is worth it because it is located on the side of an amazing antique mall, El Marie’s Antiques and Art Marketplace. We enjoyed shopping at the fun mall that one of the vendors thought used to be a car dealership!
Then there are more murals to see. Heavenly Muse-Ic by Tracey Lane Sykes is pure art and was my personal favorite mural! And It Wasn’t All Yellow by Chandler Hayes is a little hard to find but offers abstract art in bright color!
A few of the murals like Heron Today, Gone Tomorrow done by Chandler Hayes gives reference to the areas abundant wildlife. The Greatest Catch done by the late Jason Sharp refers to the fishing tournaments and outdoor activities. A Stitch in Time provides history and culture of the area! This 24′ X 8′ mural was completed in 2015, by Markus Tracy during his one-month residency in Decatur, Alabama.
Bee Kind Decatur (painted by Jason Sharp) and Bee United Decatur, (painted by Glenn Mitchell) both share a message of kindness and unity!
More Murals with meaning
Some of the murals have a deeper meaning like the first official mural of the Chasing Art Project.
This picture depicting a horse was painted by Michael McPheeters and honors the late Jimmy “Yellowhorse” Webster. Webster, was a prominent Native American, a Cherokee by blood. He was an activist in the city of Decatur, and throughout the country.
The beautiful mural Homecoming is also a tribute. Artist Adam Stephenson, portrays his late sister, Lara Lee, who passed away unexpectedly 13 years ago.
Mural fun in Decatur AL
The Breakfast Cluck by Jason Sharp is located at the former location of Whisk’d Cafe and the roosters are just pure fun. Best of all though for posing is Kelsey Montague’s set of wings in What Lifts You. These wings by Montague are the first to appear in the state of Alabama!
Art in the Two downtowns!
We had the fun experience of shopping in Decatur’s Historic Bank Street. Earlier that day, Maryanne Floyd, Communications Director for the Decatur CVB met us one morning at the fun High Point Market, a coffee/art stop bearing donuts! We enjoyed the treats before walking in this section of what Maryanne called the Albany Historic neighborhood.
Shopping on Historic Bank Street, we wondered in and out of The Cupboard, a gourmet kitchen shop where we purchased Minestrone soup. (Which we ate our first night home!) Then onto antiques at Tammy Eddy Antiques & Interiors, Bank Street Art & Antiques and fun Shops on Second! We also sampled some wonderful sugared pecans from the Tennessee Valley Pecan Company!
The Hinds McEntire Home
We learned that Albany and Old Decatur were originally two separate cities begun at different times. Judge Breland who provided us a tour of the Old State Bank said Albany was settled by northerners from Albany, New York. On the Old Decatur website they state, “Decatur and Albany Historic Districts of Decatur make up the largest concentration of Victorian era craftsmen and bungalow homes in Alabama.
We took a Civil War Walk and saw some of these homes including The Dancy-Polk House, built in 1829. Our favorite house was what family historian David Burleson called the Burleson-Hinds-McEntire House. Although today it is simply referred to as the McEntire House, it is one of the oldest buildings in Decatur. Built around 1836 this amazing brick house was occupied by both Union and Confederate forces. It is said that Confederates planned the Battle of Shiloh within its walls.
In his book, Burleson -Hinds – McEntire Home, The Untold Story, David A. Burleson also shares the story of how a copy of The Poetical Works of Lord Byron left and returned to the Burleson family. Forced to leave in 1864 by the Union Army, one solider kept this book and another later ensured it was returned to the Burleson family in 1900!
Judge Breland showed us the historic Lafayette Street Cemetery that we missed during our Civil War Walk. Circa 1818, this has a beauty all its own. Downtown also has bike racks that are sculptural. The First United Methodist Church near the Old State Bank has a beautiful cross that caught my eye. There is much to love about Decatur, both new and old art alike.
Come and see for yourself, don’t just take my word for it! We stayed at the Doubletree by Hilton Riverside was a wonderful place centrally located. There are lots of wonderful dining options and museums and agritourism stops to see as well!