Marshall named NC SmART Community

Marshall named one of North Carolina’s SmART Communities

A local team of arts, government and community leaders are launching a series of public meetings to promote and engage the public in the first project of the SmART Communities program of the North Carolina Arts Council. The City of Marshall was selected as a N.C.  Arts Council SmART Community, an initiative that transforms downtowns and fuels sustainable economic development, in 2018.

For more than a year the SmART Marshall team has planned for the premiere project, an artful wayfinding system designed to connect the arts and cultural assets from downtown Marshall, across the French Broad River to Blannahassett Island with three primary goals:

  • activating and enhancing the cultural connectivity, economic vitality and walkability in downtown Marshall through engaging artwork and creative placemaking;

  • To reflect the history, natural beauty and cultural identity of the community;

  • To beautify and add character to the downtown, and reflect the unique characteristics and assets of Marshall

Stone Cloud Studios of Asheville was chosen from 73 artist submissions from across the country to work in Marshall. Their work ranges from large-scale murals to monumental sculpture. The artists, Lara Nguyen and Todd Frahm, have held a series of community engagement activities in Marshall to learn more about the community and to hear from citizens as they develop their plan. There is a video explaining their concept, which can be seen HERE 

“It’s been an honor to be a part of the SmART Communities team. I have learned a lot about local, regional & national artists as well as the process for this type of civic engagement by the NC Arts Council.  I am passionate about downtown Marshall and its progress and I feel more art work honoring our past, present & future will have an impact on our local community and visitors alike. I want to encourage everyone to attend the community engagement meetings that will be taking place over the next several months; this is the place to generate ideas, to have your voice heard and express your concerns. This is your community art project, Marshall!!” said Rhesa Edwards, Vice-President, Downtown Marshall Association. 

The N.C. Arts Council’s SmART Communities program works with local government, local arts groups and the economic development sector in each location to envision projects and plans large enough in scope and scale to transform the community in a significant way, while reflecting the unique assets and character of place.

Since 2012, four SmART communities including Burnsville, Durham, Wilson and Kinston have showcased the central role the arts play in downtown revitalization and economic growth. Three additional communities were added in 2018: Greenville, Marshall and Morganton.

Marshal SmART Community team members include Nancy Allen, Town Administrator, Town of Marshall; Terry Bellamy, Director of Community and Economic Development, Madison County; Laura Boosinger, Executive Director, Madison County Arts Council; Rhesa Edwards, Vice President, Downtown Marshall Association (DMA); Forrest Gilliam, County Manager, Madison County; Erich Hubner, Program Director, Madison County Arts Council; Betty Hurst, Local Art Consultant; David McClurkin, President, Madison County Arts Council; Rob Pulleyn, Owner, Marshall High Studios; and Ben Smith, Board Member, Madison County Arts Council.

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 About the North Carolina Arts Council

The North Carolina Arts Council builds on our state’s long-standing love of the arts, leading the way to a more vibrant future. The Arts Council is an economic catalyst, fueling a thriving nonprofit creative sector that generates $2.12 billion in annual direct economic activity. The Arts Council also sustains diverse arts expression and traditions while investing in innovative approaches to art-making. The North Carolina Arts Council has proven to be a champion for youth by cultivating tomorrow’s creative citizens through arts education. NCArts.org.