By Rebecca Gaunt
A new mural and a bell tower will soon be visible along Main Street after Kennesaw City Council approved the proposals at Monday’s meeting.
The temporary mural, “Everyday People” by Sean Mills, will be painted on the boarded windows and door of the vacant building and former home of the Whistle Stop Cafe. The building is adjacent to Kennesaw Chiropractic Center and Wildman’s Civil War shop.
Installation will be immediate as the city wants it in place for the Big Shanty Festival on April 22 and 23. Council approved it to remain for six months.
The city received more than a dozen public comments via email in support of placing the mural at 2871 N. Main St.
The Kennesaw Arts & Culture Commission (KACC) and Historic Preservation Committee recommended two changes, which were accepted by the Council.
One is for the mural to have a QR code so people can use their phones to get more information about the installation, and the other is to add more male faces to the piece.
“I think the recommendation was understandable,” Mills said. “I made an effort to add a young boy into the mix and sort of encapsulate some more demographics. I’ll just say for the record, I didn’t find it particularly imposing of a suggestion. In fact, I welcome the opportunity to have collaboration with the community.”
While the mural was approved unanimously, the permanent installation of a bell tower for the Veterans’ Memorial Park on Main Street drew opposition from Councilman Pat Ferris.
The original sculpture selected for the park was rejected by Ferris and Mayor Derek Easterling.
The project, funded by the KACC, is a collaboration between the city’s economic development office and the Kennesaw State University Master Craftsman program.
Five more submissions were considered, with the bell tower, by Page Burch, ultimately being approved 4-1, with Ferris as the nay vote.
“If I have to choose something I would choose the bell tower. But you know what? I don’t have to choose any of these,” Ferris said.
The tower, with a flame at the top, three differently-sized bronze bells, and cast bronze poppies, will be between 10 and 16 feet tall. It will be placed in a prominent spot next to two newly-installed benches.
Mills also spoke during the public hearing for the bell tower.
“The design of the bell tower was designed by the professor of the program and the other designs were designed by students. So if you want to put that into your inclination of, do we want to help an emerging artist or do we want to rely on the auspices of an established artist?” he said.
Zoning Administrator Darryl Simmons said there is an ongoing relationship with KSU and there will be more opportunities for students.
Additionally, Council approved the relocation of the “Birds of Georgia” statue from Smith-Gilbert Gardens to Depot Park and the installation of a music-themed mural by Pine Mountain Middle School students on a retaining wall at 2670 Summers St.
Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.