Artwork brings light to Shellman

Updated: Oct. 11, 2017 at 5:45 PM EDT
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Chris Johnson has been painting all summer. (Source: WALB)
Chris Johnson has been painting all summer. (Source: WALB)
Johnson is the Art Director at Andrew College. (Source: WALB)
Johnson is the Art Director at Andrew College. (Source: WALB)
Paul Langford is the city's mayor. (Source: WALB)
Paul Langford is the city's mayor. (Source: WALB)

SHELLMAN, GA (WALB) - New artwork is bringing one South Georgia city to life.

The art director at Andrew College has spent the summer painting murals in Shellman on a unique canvas.

As he hummed the tunes of Shellman's very own Boudleaux Bryant, Chris Johnson was painting a masterpiece.

His canvas is comprised of four 35-thousand bushel grain bins.

"I started in May and I've been working pretty much all the way through until now," said Johnson.

The Randolph County Tourism and Economic Development Authority received a grant for the project.

They asked Johnson to paint murals around the county.

The grain bins were designed to represent agriculture, art and culture in Shellman.

He also painted a mural on the wall of a building in downtown Cuthbert.

"It's better than I ever imagined. Chris has done a wonderful job," explained Shellman's Mayor Paul Langford as he looked up at the artwork.

Langford helped Johnson come up with the ideas for the murals. The two hope the artwork will help revitalize the area.

Langford said the area has been working on economic developments.

"We've had several businesses open, we have an art gallery in Shellman now that's very interesting and culture related," said Langford, and Johnson agreed.

"Putting fresh new artwork up really helps them see the potential of the area and it's a way to engage with the community," said Johnson.

The artwork has already sparked engagement in the community. And it's made Johnson a few new friends. He said people honk when they drive by, many even come out of their cars to take a look.

"People give me farm fresh eggs, they come out here and bake me cookies and bring me water," smiled Johnson.

The mural of Boudleaux Bryant should be finished this week. Shellman is hosting its annual Boudleaux Bryant Festival on Saturday in the park.

But Johnson said it won't be the last of his artwork in the county.

He hopes to get a grant to paint the other bins and hopefully allow his students to do art in the community too.

"This is just the beginning of the art in Randolph County," said Johnson.

The murals are attracting attention from all over the south.

The mayor said some people came from Alabama a few weeks ago just to see them.

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