Art Emerges on MLK

Construction will begin later this year on the first phase of our mixed-use development at Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd and South School Avenue. It will be a little while before we’re ready to meet up with friends at the new beer garden or visit the new pavilion overlooking Town Branch in the new streamside park. Until then, a series of bright murals is bringing joy to the exterior of the Farm Service Cooperative buildings, which originally opened in 1950.

Hope Haynes, executive coordinator, heads up the mural project for Specialized.

“We’re planning to create a new neighborhood gathering place, and we wanted to give a taste of that energy by featuring the work of emerging artists while we get ready for the renovation,” she says.

Joleen Jewell stands on a ladder holding a cup of paint. The ladder leans against a wall that she has painted with red and yellow flowers against a blue sky.We’re working with artists to create colorful scenes on the industrial buildings, which will soon become a new neighborhood center, with places to gather, eat, drink, shop, and work. The first artist to create a mural is Joleen Jewell, who just completed a 27 foot long mural featuring a bright flower meadow and five abstract bees – one bee for each member of her family. 

Joleen said that as she painted, butterflies would fly around her, perhaps attracted by the bright colors, which stand out from the urban hardscape all around the mural. 

Joleen is a Navy veteran. While she was enlisted she worked in IT, but her artistic skill set her apart, and she was recruited to create murals of naval history and a giant depiction of Oscar the Octopus, the emblem for her command. Joleen and family have settled down in Fayetteville, where she is studying sculpture at the University of Arkansas School of Art.

Joleen’s mural “Daisies, Marigolds, and Busy Bees” is the first of many – watch as they appear this summer and fall.

Do you know an emerging artist whose work would enliven the walls of the old co-op buildings?  

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