The Pikeville Main Street Program is unveiling its newest outdoor mural in downtown Pikeville created by Pikeville native, Austin Casebolt, on Wednesday, Aug. 5 at 2 p.m. on Second Street across from the Appalachian Center for the Arts.

“We are transforming an underused alley into a vibrant, public space with art,” said Pikeville Main Street Director Minta Trimble. “Murals make our town beautiful and they build a sense of community.”

“The arts have a long history of building and strengthening communities which in turn strengthens our economy,” said City Manager Philip Elswick. “By investing in the arts, Pikeville is supporting jobs, generating revenue, and promoting tourism.

Casebolt was chosen for this project because of his artistic expertise and local roots in Appalachian culture.

His painting titled, “Woman with Cardinal” captures the spirit of the mountains and responds to stereotypes of eastern Kentucky people.

“When news outlets need a token image of rural poverty in America, Appalachia is often their go-to location,” said Casebolt. “With a long history of stereotyping that has plagued eastern Kentucky, misinformation perpetuated by pop culture and mass media has left little room for the mobility of mountain people. My work responds to the misrepresentation of eastern Kentucky people by highlighting the dignity, and virtue indigenous to our mountains.”

The 5 feet by 10 feet painting features traditional iconography including the Kentucky State Bird, State Flower and the legendary Appalachian Mountains through a contemporary painting of a modern Kentuckian. The piece is comprised of a variety of layers and painting styles that reflect the essence of mountain people. Casebolt has recently been accepted to the Master’s of Fine Arts (MFA) program at the prestigious Parsons, The New School, in New York City. The MFA degree is terminal and is the capstone of an artists formal education. Parsons has served as a pioneer in the field of Art and Design for more than a century. It provides a dynamic, challenging environment in which students from many backgrounds and cultures develop diverse studio-based practices and pursue interdisciplinary scholarships. In 2019 and 2020, the QS World University Rankings, a London-based higher education organization, named Parsons the #1 College for Art and Design in the United States, and #3 internationally.

“We are very proud of Austin’s accomplishments and pleased to be able to showcase his work,” said Pikeville Mayor Jimmy Carter. “I look forward to more contributions from him to the local arts community in the future.”

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