Mural depicts county history
Terry James was still beaming when he paused from speaking to well-wishers and glanced again at the illuminated mural behind him.
His mouth fell open in amazement as he suddenly realized the identity of the lady in the bright yellow dress.
“Oh my God!” he exclaimed. “That’s my Aunt Mary Esther. She named me.”
James and other family members were the guests of honor as a new mural featuring Florence’s rich African-American history was unveiled Feb. 5 at Wells Fargo’s Florence Mall branch. A portion of the mural is a tribute to the legacy of the historic Jamestown community in Mars Bluff, founded by Ervin James in 1870. Terry James is the director of The Jamestown Foundation.
“This is amazing,” said James. “The family and the foundation are so appreciative.”
The mural also features local artist William Henry Johnson, a 1940s Army Air Corps dance at the American Legion, the Carolina Theater and street scenes in downtown Florence. A historical map completes the design.
The Jamestown Foundation, the private collection of Brenda Harrison, the University of South Carolina, Columbia, UNC-Chapel Hill and the Smithsonian Institution provided images for the mural.
According to the bank’s web site, the Wells Fargo Community Mural Program is dedicated to creating unique, custom-designed, historical artwork that respects the community's legacy, celebrates its diversity, and honors the past upon which the community was founded.
Researchers work with local historical societies, libraries, and archives to select images that will resonate with the community. Once the images are chosen, the mural is created digitally, using a photo collage style. Graphic artists work with original photos and documents, which they clean and arrange to create the final design.
The murals are then printed on a canvas and them placed in a backlit LED frame. The Florence mural is about eight-foot in height and three and a half feet wide.
A printed key that includes captions for each image and credit to the community organizations providing the image is installed next to the mural.
Beth Currie, director of the Community Murals Program, said the mural takes about four months to complete. She added that it is a “very laborious process.”
The Florence Mall branch of Wells Fargo Bank is located at 104 David H. McLeod Blvd.