One of the things I enjoy about exploring towns is seeing murals on buildings. At times, they are abstract art pieces; other times they recall a memorable event from the area's history. Still others recall a famous person from the town.
Earlier this year, work took me to Black Mountain, NC, about a 15-20 minute drive east of Asheville. Leaving town, I passed by this large painting on the side of building. Unclear as to what I saw, I had to circle back to see it again. I'm glad I did.
Turns out it was a large portrait of the 70s soul superstar Roberta Flack. She was a favorite singer of mine back in the day. She is best known the song "Killing Me Softly", but for me, the piece "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" is a better piece, as it has such an ethereal, sensual feel to it that floats timelessly.
Flack was born in Black Mountain and spent the first nine years of her life there before moving. Her portrait is located on the side of Black Mountain Brewing in the historic downtown of the town
Her portrait is part of a larger project by Scott Nurkin. Called the North Carolina Musicians project, Nurkin has painted murals of other famed musicians from the state in their hometowns, including Earl Scruggs in Shelby, John Coltrane in Hamlett, Randy Travis in Marshville, and Theolonius Monk in Rocky Mount. There are currently nine murals throughout North Carolina.
Roberta Flack mural, by Scott Nurkin, The Mural Shop