ROCKY MOUNT — A sunny new mural greets winter travelers winding their way through the town at the heart of Franklin County.

Longtime downtown Rocky Mount fixture Angle Hardware acquired a new look in December, when Ferrum artist Carolyn Rogers, with help from her mother, Joan, completed a painting of a farmer breaking soil with a horse-drawn plow on the building’s northwest wall.

“We were motivated to get it done before it got any colder,” Carolyn Rogers said.

Before painting Angle Hardware, she and her mother were part of a team, also including fellow Franklin County artists Carol Yopp and Karl Schad, that painted a town-sponsored Crooked Road-themed mural on a retaining wall across from Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital in the spring of 2019.

The Angle Hardware mural is meant to continue that vintage motif. “We had been doing rural scenes based on the Crooked Road and the moonshine runs and everything,” Carolyn Rogers said. “Everything was very agricultural there, and we had a lot of reference images.” She and her mother consulted with Ferrum historian Roddy Moore to come up with the plow and the gear for the horses, animals the women are fond of. “That’s just something we really wanted to do.”

The mural is the latest result of Rocky Mount’s push for more public art. “The town contributed $5,000 as part of our public art project,” wrote Assistant Town Manager Matt Hankins. “Funds come from the tourism and branding fund, which is funded by the lodging tax. It helps us develop tourism assets, develop our brand and market the community to visitors.”

The mural “really speaks to the heritage of the community and the hardware store, which traces its roots back to 1887,” Hankins wrote.

Rocky Mount business owners interested in having their own mural may contact town planner Jessica Heckman at 483-7660.

Painting moonshine

The Franklin County Public Library in Rocky Mount has put a call out for artists to create paintings related to the county’s most celebrated, once-illegal export.

April is, in case you didn’t know, Franklin County Moonshine Heritage Month. “Moonshining the Arts: Reflections on Canvas,” scheduled to be exhibited April 4-25 at the library, will showcase art inspired by Franklin County’s history of moonshine production and by the influence of the Prohibition era on modern times.

The exhibition also ties into the centennial of Prohibition, which took effect nationwide in 1920.

“It’s going to be really, really big,” said Franklin County artist Carol Yopp, one of the organizers of the show and associated events. “People are doing some really good work. I’ve already got some really good people lined up.”

There is no geographical limitation for who can apply. Paintings should be no bigger than 16 by 20 inches. The entry form provides links to references artists can use. Application requires a $30 fee, $15 for students, made out to Friends of Franklin County Public Library. The deadline for applying is March 20. For more information, contact Yopp at carolsart1944@gmail.com or 483-2850.

Creative (armed) forces

On Feb. 25, at 5:30 p.m., the Creativity in Health Education program at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke will open “Creative Forces,” an exhibition focused on how military veterans use art to help recover from injuries and trauma. Organizers are inviting Roanoke Valley military service members and veterans and their family members and caregivers to contribute art to the show. For more information, contact the school’s Community and Culture Office at 526-2588 or cbrakes@vt.edu.

Healing arts

The Dr. Robert L.A. Keeley Healing Arts Program at Carilion Clinic seeks a teaching artist to work with patients, caregivers and employees and conduct public demonstrations at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. The call for artists specifically encourages applications from visual artists and sculptors. The time commitment will be eight hours per week over nine months. The deadline to apply is Feb. 21. For more information, contact Carilion Clinic Foundation at healingarts@carilionclinic.org or 224-4548.

Mike Allen covers government happenings in Franklin County and Botetourt County for The Roanoke Times and also writes the weekly Arts & Extras column.

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