New mural receives rave reviews at Elizabethton-Carter County Public Library

Published 4:33 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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When children enter the Elizabethton-Carter County Public Library, they discover an area where they can be transported from the present day into a realm of imagination. They encounter scenes of a mother living in a shoe and characters carried away by a flying dragon, among other wonders, thanks to a recently unveiled mural completed on the wall in the children’s reading area by artist Nash Acuna.
The public had their first glimpse of the mural on Tuesday when the library hosted a drop-in unveiling with Acuna’s presence and refreshments for the guests.
“I just wanted kids to come in here and feel like they were going somewhere else,” Acuna said about the atmosphere she aimed to create. “They read all these fairy tales or hear people tell them about it, but to look at it and hopefully feel like they could walk into the painting was what I was hoping for.
“I put those steps there that are books to help them feel like they could walk into it with lots of little characters at the top so they could explore new things, and of course the sculpture of the tree is a little hideout where they can go. Inside, the tree is coated like Dolly Parton’s ‘Coat of Many Colors’ book.”
Acuna said the project took about four months to complete, with three months dedicated to the mural and another month to the tree sculpture. She attributed the length of time to working full-time and having to dedicate off-hours to the project.
The project required an entire set of mural paint along with latex paint.
“It took a gallon of latex paint to mix the colors because I mix my own colors, and there are three layers of seal coat so if the kids mark on it, it can be washed off, and the coat should protect the mural. The mural should last about 10 years. This is all freehand just from my brain, so that is what you are looking at is my brain.”
Acuna added that the project originated from brainstorming sessions with Ashlee Williams, and it quickly progressed to work on the mural.
“Ashlee (Williams) and I are always brainstorming because we work together a lot, and it was something that we talked about,” Acuna said. “It kind of grew and grew and grew, so I did a proposal for them. She presented it to the board, and they accepted it, so we moved forward with it pretty quickly.”
The artist recalled her love of art developing at a young age when her mother discovered her drawing on the wall under her bed. It was during a time when no one believed that one could make money doing something such as painting or mural work.
“I always loved art, and now that I am an adult and I pursued my love of art, I want kids to see that you can grow up and be an artist, that you can make money, and have a living doing what you love to do,” Acuna said.

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