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A colorful welcome: Hodges installs community mural

Just in time for this year’s Spirit of Hodges festival, the community installed a colorful mural, titled “Welcome to Hodges.”

The mural was hung Wednesday morning on the side of the Mills-Shavings office building, located on the corner of Highway 187 and Main Street.

Hodges Mayor Brian Scott explained about a year ago he began talking with Tina Lawler from the Alabama Mountain Lakes Association about the potential project, and she was able to help Hodges get a $2,000 grant to pay for the mural.

“I’m excited for Hodges’ first mural,” added Scott. “It’s a great artistic representation of our community.”

Standing 16 feet by 8 feet, the mural spans four 4-foot by 8-foot aluminum sign boards with PVC cores. The mural, which took 171 hours to paint, is attached with screws to pieces of plywood that were screwed onto the side of the building for this purpose.

A scenic background features a waterfall, train, cross, the year the town was founded and the high school logo. The use of an etching primer on the metal ensures proper bonding of the paint, which is an exterior acrylic-latex mix, to the metal.

The painting celebrates the spirit of Hodges thanks to the artistry of Alabama muralist Missy Miles, a resident of the Bexar community, which is located outside of Hamilton. Miles described the project as a “fun challenge.”

She’s no stranger to large-scale painting, having completed her first mural in 2008 in Guin. In total, she’s painted 106 murals – six of them this year, counting the Hodges mural, all in northwest Alabama.

“I constantly strive to improve my composition and am always working to make an eye-catching and one-of-a-kind mural,” Miles said. “I use top-of-the-line paint from Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams. I haven’t had any problems with fading. For any colors like reds and yellows which would naturally be prone to fading, I used multiple coats.”

Miles added she’s excited to see the whole thing put together and in place.

“I’m honored to have been given the opportunity to paint a mural for Hodges, especially their first one. I can foresee doing more in the future,” she said. “I think it’s thrilling to be able to help tell Hodges’ story.”

Lawler, whose hometown is Hodges, was among those who attended the mural installation.

“We awarded a grant for a mural in a city in each of our 16 counties in north Alabama,” she explained. The finished mural, once installed, becomes part of the organization’s North Alabama Mural Trail. “We have a lot of natural beauty in Hodges, and this will help bring people into our area,” Lawler added.

Hodges town clerk Danyel Guth who also attended the installation said the mural is a source of community pride she’s glad to see completed. “It’s just amazing. It’s really beautiful.”

For more information about Miles and her work, visit her Facebook profile, Missy Miles, or look for her on Instagram under @milesofmurals.

While the city doesn’t own the building, it does own the mural, which is installed in a manner that makes it possible to move if necessary.

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