In an artistic movement that just keeps on growing in Henderson, a new mural has been added to a building in the East End.
The mural is one of eight small projects funded this year by the Love Your Neighborhood initiative, said Nivea Carter, director of the organization.
“A lot of people want to see positive change in the neighborhood,” she said, noting that a selection committee for the grant applications looked for things that helped residents of the East End bring their individual gifts to life through small projects that make a difference.
“It’s a really positive feeling that these projects bring,” Carter said. “The hope is that it will be continuous. I pray that it will be a domino effect.”
A bonus is that the mural by local artist Tabitha Taylor is right in the middle of the area also being targeted for urban improvement by the city of Henderson’s Inner City Improvement Plan initiative.
It is at a neighborhood hub that in just the last few years has seen the addition of East End Park (with its own mural created by Henderson County High School art students), Audubon Kids Zone, a mini-housing development on Letcher Street by Habitat for Humanity of Henderson and the City, affordable senior housing on the site of the former Audubon School and the Bodega Market & Cafe.
In addition to the mural, the Love Your Neighborhood projects include improving security with exterior lighting at a church and removing a tree that was making an area feel unsafe (plus using the wood to fuel AKZ “Summer Sizzler” cookouts), a community Bingo Night, a project to make porch cushions, window upgrades to the building with the mural targeted to become a community gathering place and outdoor seating at Audubon Senior Apartments.
Taylor’s mural project can be found at 131 Letcher St. on a building owned by Ernest Green adjacent to Audubon Kids Zone. It’s a lovely “garden” of blue flowers that fits perfectly with the community garden — mostly vegetables, but some florals — that’s seasonally in operation on the AKZ property.
“The flowers are forget-me-nots, a way to commemorate Mr. Green’s late wife, Darlene, and a way to remind the community to ‘forget not, you are loved’,” the artist said. “What an awesome project to be a part of.” The building was once Mrs. Green’s hair salon.
Taylor thanked Green for providing the space for the project she pitched to the grant program. They collaborated on choosing the mural design.
Introducing him as “our neighbor,” Audubon Kids Zone noted in a Facebook post that Green’s dream is to convert his East End building with the forget-me-not mural into a non-profit grief support center in honor of his late wife.
Taylor has been on a roll recently sharing her artwork in Henderson. She’s just completed many temporary window murals depicting fall and winter scenes on such businesses as The Elm, Guidewise Financial, Hometown Roots, Elite Downtown and Roast, among others. There are also “school spirit” designs painted on Henderson Municipal Center.
Her prolific window work started about five years ago, when she was asked by a downtown Henderson business to paint a cheerful spring design on their street-level windows.
Taylor, a self-taught artist, had never done such a project, but had done chalk artwork and other mediums so she painted the Field & Main Insurance windows, then another for them after that. Soon she was painting designs on other business windows, and it’s snowballed from there in every season.
She estimates that she’s done approximately 120 of these projects since she did that very first one.
“(A window is) a huge canvas and it’s really a lot of fun. I would love to do it full-time,” Taylor said. “There’s nothing like painting outside when the weather is perfect.”
Murals in Henderson
Since 2016, the number of public exterior murals in Henderson has been expanding. Here’s a list of where to find them:
• “Where Life Happens,” East End Park, 214 Letcher St., created by Henderson County High School art students.
• “Discover Your Nature,” at The Perch Pocket Park, 225 Second St., created by Leah Tumerman.
• “The ‘Murial’,” CSX railroad underpass, Water Street, created by Abby Dixon and Lindsay Locasto.
• “Nourish,” at the rear of building at 13 S. Main St., created by Maddie Fritz.
• “Kentucky Roots,” 19 S. Main St., created by Grace Henderson.
• “Fearless Beauty,” on the alley behind 230 Third St., Salon Calidora, created by Danelle Bowles.
• “Map of Henderson,” Tomblinson Funeral Home, 325 First St., along Green Street side of building, created by Hadlie Comer Long.
• “Butterfly Alley,” alley beside Butler’s Apothecary, 213 N. Main St., created by Tabitha Taylor
• “Forget Me Not,” 131 Letcher St., adjacent to Audubon Kids Zone, created by Tabitha Taylor