Flint Energies to Fund Mural Project in Roberta

Staff Report From Middle Georgia CEO

Friday, May 1st, 2020

Flint Energies announced that the City of Roberta has won the Co-op’s second “Rural Murals” grant worth $12,500. Flint will award the funds to the Keep Roberta-Crawford County Beautiful as part of the matching grant. Keep Roberta-Crawford County Beautiful and its partners, Crawford County Board of Commissioners, City of Roberta, Crawford County Historical Society, Roberta-Crawford County Chamber of Commerce, Dickey Farms and Crawford County Farm Bureau will invest approximately $2,500 towards the mural project.

The mural will provide a pictorial story of Crawford County history and will transform the side of the building located along South Matthews Street in Roberta. The mural will be 680 square feet when completed. Artist Chris Johnson of Columbus, who has family ties to Crawford County, has been selected to be the mural painter. Since 2017, Chris has painted over 25 murals throughout Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. You can see examples of Chris’ mural work and community projects at his website: chrisjmfa.com.

The Rural Murals Program establishes a collaboration between Flint Energies and the local, rural community to create murals that carry lasting impact, sparks economic development and is the focal point of community discussion. The focus is to celebrate the unique history and diversity of our local rural communities. It is vital to establishing a strong sense of place for residents by creating suitable and recognizable murals within a community/downtown. The Rural Murals program intends to increase the number of public murals across Flint’s service territory, while supporting the incredibly talented artist community within Middle Georgia. Flint Energies will identify and partially fund the projects that highlight positive images of the Middle Georgia area’s history and culture through an application process.

The program’s murals are designed to bring travelers off main interstates to travel the backroads…off the beaten path to discover the vast resources our area has to offer. Money spent in the towns that host the murals will directly benefit those areas, as the funds are given by visitors and not long-time residents.

“It is our hope is to positively impact the aesthetics, activation, marketability and perception of our winner’s community; to increase property values and serve as a catalyst for continued private sector investment through visible improvements. We hope that the mural will provide a visually-friendly environment for residents and visitors to dine, shop, work and live,” says Marian McLemore, Flint’s Vice President of Cooperative Communications. “We are excited to partner with the Roberta-Crawford County community on our second mural project and hope it helps spur economic growth for their community,” says McLemore.

Flint’s first Rural Murals project, located at 100 N. Sumter Street in Oglethorpe, was completed in Fall 2019 by artist Jackie Fontenot of neighboring Montezuma.

Earlier this year, Flint Energies invited rural communities located in the Co-op’s service territory to apply for the Rural Murals grant. Flint Energies’ service area encompasses parts of Bibb, Chattahoochee, Crawford, Dooly, Harris, Houston, Macon, Marion, Monroe, Muscogee, Peach, Schley, Sumter, Talbot, Taylor, Twiggs and Upson counties. In March, the Cooperative received five grant applications. A panel of art educators and aficionados served as judges and reviewed the applications. The top scoring mural idea was funded.