On Wednesday, Aug. 12, the Leadership Dawson Class of 2020 held an official ribbon cutting for the new mural that was recently finished at Dawsonville City Hall. Members of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce and the city government were present for the ribbon-cutting, as well as most of the members of the leadership class.
Sophia Dearwent, a member of the leadership class and one of the people who spearheaded the mural project, said that the idea and its execution had been in the works since last fall.
“We had our leadership class meeting last fall where we came up with ideas, and Taylor Bennett in our class said let’s do a mural,” Dearwent said. “So the whole class agreed on the project, we formed a mural committee and started coming up with ideas for it.”
Dearwent knew local artist Abby Carroll and her design company, More Than Enough Design Co, because their sons attend school together at Robinson Elementary School. And when Dearwent reached out to Carroll to ask her if she’d take on the project, the artist agreed.
“I’ve been an artist all my life and a professional artist for about 5 years now, so this was an amazing opportunity,” Carroll said. “So we started designing the mural as a digital image and went from there.”
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Rebecca Walsh, another leadership class member who helped to spearhead the project, said that originally the class was unsure of where the mural would end up.
“Our original idea was to possibly put the mural in the farmer’s market, so I brought it to Mike Eason and he loved the idea and said why don’t we put it on the back of city hall,” Walsh said. “So we put it there because that way it’s in view of any events that happen back here or people in the park can see it, and the city was just so helpful in making it happen too.”
Dawsonville Mayor Mike Eason said that he and his staff were more than happy to help make the project happen.
“I’m just tickled to death with what’s happened here, our people were engaged with it and we think this is a great project because it represents not only the city of Dawsonville but our whole community,” Eason said. “We think it’s a great opportunity for people to see it when they come to our park and we’re excited to be part of the leadership Dawson project.”
“This is a great addition to our community,” Eason said.
Dawson County Chamber of Commerce President Christie Moore said that she and the rest of the chamber have been getting positive feedback on how the mural turned out and are very excited to have it finished.
“I’ve already seen on social media that people love the mural and are posting about it, and we really appreciate all the hard work that went into it,” Moore said. “This is an excellent representation of our community because we’re known for a lot of things, not just one thing, so I’m glad to see all the things that are represented in it.”
Dearwent said that the goal in designing the mural was to represent as many of the things that make Dawson County unique as possible.
“We wanted to show all of the aspects of Dawson in kind of a picture mural but it was too busy, so Abby came up with the idea of putting things inside the letters,” Dearwent said. “And here we are!”
Carroll said that her design was to make each letter in the word “Dawson” its own aspect of what makes the county special.
“We have Amicalola Falls, NASCAR racing, pumpkin patches and cornfields, the Etowah River, Lake Lanier and the sunflowers,” Carroll said, “so really just as much as we could fit in there that really make Dawson County what it is.”
The mural was supposed to be in the works in March, but with the COVID-19 pandemic Carroll wasn’t able to start on it until July.
“We ended up painting in July which was really hot, but we knocked it out in about a week,” Carroll said. “And it was just really cool seeing it go from all the ideas to a digital copy to being up on a wall.”
Carol Tyger, committee chair for the leadership program, said that since the mural has been up on the wall she’s seen and heard of many people enjoying it and taking photos with it.
“This is a great mural to take pictures with, high school graduation, that kind of thing, and the other day there was someone out here with their classic car who took a photo with it and put it on social media,” Tyger said. “So this is really going to become a focal point for people visiting our county and taking advantage of the park and the other things going on.”
For Carroll, officially cutting the ribbon on the mural after so much work was a huge reward.
“This is a highlight of my career,” Carroll said. “It was so cool to do something that will be here forever and that the community can be proud of, and it was just such an awesome opportunity.”