‘Many hands make light work’


Community mural receives official welcome in Clarkston



Local artist Shannon Willow and Clarkston city officials came together Aug. 10 to unveil a finished community mural at 4154 E. Ponce de Leon Ave.

 Willow joined more than 100 Clarkston residents May 20 to paint the Human Family Forest Mural at Christ Community AME Church and has been working on final touches ever since.

 “This is a celebration of community together through art,” Willow said. “This is about thanking the community—I couldn’t complete a piece like this without their hands. Many hands make light work. It’s beautiful when we come together and plug into that emotional intelligence. When you create art as a community, everyone gets to experience that joy collectively.”

 According to Willow, the mural—consisting of six trees—depicts five healthy pillars of a community. These include spirituality, wellness, sustainability, early learning and diversity. Each tree is decorated with corresponding terminology.
Shannon Willow Pic

 Willow, who has completed five other murals in Clarkston, said the trees were sponsored by appropriate Clarkston businesses and agencies. For example, the sustainability tree is sponsored by Habitat for Humanity, a local chiropractor business, Injury to Wellness, sponsored the wellness tree and Clarkston Development Foundation sponsored the early learning and diversity tree.

 The spirituality tree represents the wall on which the mural is painted, Willow said: Christ Community AME Church.

 Willow said the words that resonate with her the most include “Love,” “Friendship,” ‘Diversity,” “Joy,” “Empathy,” “Consciousness,” and “Sustainability.” She said it’s important for residents  to remember their commonalities when other barriers seem insurmountable.

 “Tell all your friends and family to come read the words—they are meant to be read,” Willow said. “They were written with community—I engaged over 200 people for this mural. It shows we care about what the community is saying about what it wants in a mural.”

General Pic

 Willow said she hopes the mural remind observers about the importance of the environment and human ties to “Mother Earth.”

 Mayor Ted Terry attended the unveiling with councilmen Awet Eyasu, Jamie Caroll as well as councilwoman Beverly Burks and city manager Keith Barker.

 “It’s great that the city can support public art projects like this that are making a difference in our community,” Terry said. “We know in certain census blocks where public art and public art initiatives are taken, [observers] can see a downward trend in the crime rate. Engagement goes up and people take ownership of the places they live. That’s very important to us here in Clarkston.”


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