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Editorial: Don’t let support for the mural fade away

This spring and fall, folks going by the West Fisher Street mural next to Wells Fargo Bank might have seen the dangling legs of artists Cynvia Arthur Rankin and Diane Monday as they worked 12-hour days brightening up the faces and scenes of this Salisbury treasure, which measures 48.4 feet tall and 127 feet wide.

A much-younger Arthur created the monstrous mural back in 1980, and she has returned every five to eight years to perform a lot of the restoration work or add some of what is now 140-plus people on the mural. About 15 years ago, friend and fellow artist Monday started accompanying Arthur on her return trips.

On the weeks they set aside to work on the mural, the women usually are sitting in a covered painting platform attached to their rented lift. That’s why passersby see their legs more than anything else as they scrape, sand and paint. They listen to books on tape, talk and deal with all the interruptions.

People constantly tell them how much they appreciate the mural and how it’s often the first place they bring out-of-town visitors when they are showing off Salisbury.

Arthur and Monday have been here twice this year — for a couple of weeks in early June and for much of this month. Their last day will be Monday before they pack up and go back to their lives in Maryland. Besides brightening many of the mural’s people, the artists are adding Salisburians Edward and Susan Norvell — in period costume, of course — to the street scene.

When it comes to the mural, it’s time for people who have loved this landmark for the past 35 years to start showing that appreciation through monetary donations for its continued upkeep.

“We’d love to see more community support,” says one of the mural’s chief angels through the years, Janie Allen.

It’s also time for people such as Allen and Kaye Brown-Hirst to have help in what has to be a continuing program to preserve the mural.

Arthur and Monday are relative bargains for their dedication and hard work, but the expenses of the lift, paints and hotel room for the artists add up. Arthur-Rankin says people need to know any size donation to the mural helps

If you want to make a contribution, send a check payable to The Mural Preservation Inc. and send it in care of the Rowan County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 204 E. Innes St., Salisbury, NC 28144. You can also put it to the attention of treasurer Lesley Pullium.

All those people in the mural — and Salisbury as a whole — will thank you.

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