What began nearly two years as an idea to improve the facade of a now-vacant building on College Street in Macon will soon be a reality. Artist Heidi Clinite began painting a large-scale mural on the side of the former MiLady Cleaners only a few days ago.
The mural is a project of The Facade Squad, a local group which works to improve the facades of local buildings and in public spaces. A few months ago the group repaired a set of benches in Daisy Park, which lies only two blocks from the cleaners. The mural is funded by a Knight Neighborhood Challenge grant, which the group received to improve the veneer of the empty building. Landscaping will be added once the painting is complete.
For Clinite, this is the largest project of her burgeoning career as a muralist. A classically-trained viola player, she began pursuing visual art seriously less than a decade ago. Her paintings have been featured in several galleries in Macon. Other murals she has painted include a triptych on canvas for the Centenary Bicycle Program (also a Knight Neighborhood Challenge project) and an indoor mural at Cherry Street Cycles in downtown Macon.
Her design for this project depicts two children on a camping trip. Notably, they are two kids who live in the College Hill Corridor community where the mural is located. The focal point of the painting is the duo after they have caught a group of fireflies in a jar. Clinite describes them as being “enthralled by the magic within.”
Known for her use of surrealist technique, Clinite places her subjects in a tent, which is also an open book. The ground beneath them is a stack of books, notably “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman sits just below the children’s feet. At the bottom of the mural is Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” Clinite uses the stacks of books to evoke the layers of the earth. She seems to be saying that the natural wonder of luminescent insects and the wonders found on the pages of books are much like her paintings, meant to inspire the imaginations of us all.
Though she doesn’t know when the mural will be complete, she did say that she plans to work on the project daily for at least the next week and then assess her progress. Being the largest mural of her new career as a muralist, she’s extremely excited about the project.
“The painting is a celebration of curiosity, imagination and the pursuit of knowledge,” says Clinite. Based on her preliminary mock-up , one can assume this mural will stir the imaginations and curiosity of the College Hill community for years to come.