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Mural #8: Michael Brown/Pittsboro Visitor Center/2020

Updated: Apr 30

When I called up Michael Brown to get the story behind his Pittsboro murals, he reminded me that he and I have talked about murals on more than one occasion at the Plant.  He also generously offered to help Thomas in any way he can.  Wow.

 

He’s a powerhouse with a paint brush, but he’s not good with dates.  He remembered doing the Chatham Centric mural on the back of the Visitor Center “the year Covid began.”

 

And he gave the credit to Michael Fiocco.  Apparently, Fiocco stickhandled mural projects through “all of the politics and money.”

 

Michael Fiocco served as a Town of Pittsboro Commissioner for many years.  In his professional life he is a planner—part of the development community.  Thank you, Michael Fiocco.  You left some great murals as a legacy from your public service.



The Visitor Center in Pittsboro was created by Maria and Greg Lewis, former owners of the Pittsboro Roadhouse and current owners of the Sycamore, and 39 West Catering.  Basically, food and beverage royalty.

 

It turns out that the Murals #7, #8, and #9 were all funded by Main Street dollars—through the Visitor Center, thanks to Michael Fiocco. 

 

Maria confirmed this for me.  It appears Michael Fiocco is a fan of Michael Brown, and their partnership is to thank for Pittsboro’s strong mural game. 

 

Since they are both named Michael, it makes it harder to sort things out in this dossier.  Besides.  This isn’t a dossier.  It’s becoming a catalog.  Not sure why I am writing a catalog exactly, but Maria suggested that we create a map of the murals of Pittsboro.  Good idea.

 

It turns out  Myle’s Bookshelf mural was also partially funded by Main Street money—before there was a visitor center.

 

Follow the money.  It appears that a large chunk of Pittsboro’s murals was funded by public money—some of which washed through our town during Covid. 

 

Post Script:  When I published Murals of Pittsboro on the Plant’s website, it stirred up a bunch of conversations.  One was with Michael Fiocco.  So glad he wrote me this email—filling in blanks in the stories:

 

Lyle,

 

Thanks for spreading the word of Murals in PBO!

 

It was truly my pleasure to be a part of the Murals you mention in your piece. Thanks for the credit but I would be remiss if I were not to mention that the Design Committee, of which I was Chair, of Main Street Pittsboro was the vehicle for realizing the 3 Murals you mention. The Design Committee also helped create many Façade Improvements via the Façade Grant Program within the Main Street District.

 

For the record the Main Street Design Committee membership was a completely volunteer group that included:

  • Barber Holmes

  • Holly Norton

  • Maria Parker-Lewis 

  • Stephanie Pierson

  • Taylor Hobbs

  • Michael Fiocco

 

The Committee met monthly, or more frequent when “projects” required, and was a dedicated group who put in many hours of their time outside meetings to make “things happen”.

 

A couple of notes on the murals:

  • The Welcome Center Mural was originally only to be on one wall but thanks to the cooperation of Eddie Thomas, adjoining property/building owner, the mural wraps the corner.

  • The Yoga Studio Mural, thanks to Lexie Wolf for volunteering her building, was created during a difficult time after the killing of George Floyd and which you’ll note includes the word “breathe”.

  • The Page Vernon Park Mural owes credit to Faye Dark for the vision of the image. She attended a Main Street presentation one evening and afterwards approached me inquiring about a mural on her building. She presented a clipped image of a wooded area with a faint trail and she insisted only nature be included; no people! With that Michael Brown and Loren Pease created the wooded image complete with birds, trail and possible watery destination in the distance. Particular to this Mural was that it came at a time when Main Street Pittsboro was in the process of changing from the volunteer group model to a Town Staff model and dispersal of budgeted funds from the Town was on hold. The Mural had been commissioned by now and instead of abandoning the project the Design Committee solicited private donations for the project and, happily, the following folks donated the funds to cover the cost and create the beautiful backdrop to the fabulous Page Vernon Park! 

  • Selbe Bartlett and Mike Dasher

  • Greg and Maria Parker-Lewis

  • Jim Nass

  • Kirk Bradley

  • Hobbs Architects

  • The Root Cellar Café

  • Perch Coworking

  • Bradshaw Robinson and Slawter, LLP

  • Michael and Jamie Fiocco

 

Finally, it is appropriate to mention that the three murals were created by the team of Michael Brown and Loren Pease and that part of their mission is to educate folks on mural creation. As a result they would often “hold court” and entertain groups and individuals while painting to explain the craft and process. 

 

Good luck with your mural and have fun with it!

 

Michael

 

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