Arts Alliance’s project a big hit across the county
by Jennifer Cohron
Jul 23, 2011 | 5105 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“Energy,” located at Reed Energy on Industrial Parkway, is one of the first mules in Walker County Arts Alliance’s “50-Mule Team Public Art Project.” Photo by: Jennifer Cohron
“Energy,” located at Reed Energy on Industrial Parkway, is one of the first mules in Walker County Arts Alliance’s “50-Mule Team Public Art Project.” Photo by: Jennifer Cohron
The first members of Walker County Arts Alliance’s “50-Mule Team Public Art Project” are making their debut.

Approximately 20 of the fiberglass sculptures are now on display throughout the area.

Project chair Sharon Hogg said she has enjoyed seeing how excited sponsors are when they receive their mules.

“We’ve had whole offices come outside just beaming and saying, ‘It’s here! It’s here!’” Hogg said.

Employees at Reed Energy on Industrial Parkway have embellished their mule, “Energy,” by hooking it up to a wagon filled with coal.

Reed representative Robbin Reed Allen said that several staff members spent one Friday afternoon placing each lump of coal by hand on the display.

Drivers are now stopping by the Reed office on a regular basis to ask questions about Energy and have their picture taken with the red, white and blue mule.

Allen said that she appreciates artist Melanie Poole and members of WCAA for paying tribute to Walker County’s rich mining history.

She added that she is looking forward to visiting other area businesses to see all of Energy’s friends.

“I think it is such a progressive project that is highlighting how many talented local artists we have,” Allen said.

Hogg said she has been pleased with the support the project has received within the community.

In the beginning, the WCAA board hoped to get enough financial backing for 20 mules.

The project was renamed when the initial 20 sponsorships were secured within weeks of introducing the campaign to local businesses.

Volunteers with Walker County Outreach, ambassadors from Bevill State Community College and others are now helping Hogg install the mules and concrete pads for them to stand on.

Delta Transfer Lines has been storing and moving the mules around the county for WCAA.

Gunter Body Shop and staff at Bevill State Community College’s Sumiton campus have provided clear coating for the mules, and 4 Seasons Nursery and Garden Center has worked on wooden platforms so the mules can be wheeled in and out of buildings.

“I feel like everyone has gotten involved in some way,” Hogg said.

WCAA Executive Coordinator Beth Sargent said the mules should bring a number of tourists to Walker County and are being well received by local residents as well.

“You can’t hang around a mule very long without having people stop to take pictures or little kids running over to sit on it,” Sargent said.

A map of all the mules will be provided at each site in the coming weeks.

The following is a list of mules that have already been installed:

• “Patches” — Athletic Arts Center, 401 10th Ave., Jasper

• “Halcyon” — Hands Performance Motorcycle, 20576 Hwy. 78, Jasper

• “Daisy” — St. Mary’s Episcipal Church, 801 The Trace West, Jasper

• “Penny” — First Bank of Jasper, 200 18th Street W, Jasper

• “Sleepy” — Rest of Your Life, 1350 Summit Drive, Jasper

• “Smokey” — Pulmonary & Sleep Associates, 1280 Summit Drive, Jasper

• “Sal” — Family Health Associates, 801 20th Ave. E, Jasper

• “Dreamer” — Drummond Company, 3000 Hwy. 78 E, Jasper

• “Molly” — Alabama Power Company, 11 E 18th Street, Jasper

• “Rosie” — Alabama Mining Museum, 120 East Street, Dora

• “Ronnie” — Blackston & Associates, 10 Wright Street, Jasper

• “Parker” —1800 block of 3rd Ave. S, Jasper

• “Sunnyview” — Ridgeview Health Center, 907 11th Street NE, Jasper

• “Energy” — Reed Energy, 3699 Industrial Blvd., Jasper

• “Hattie” — After Hours Clinic, 1800 Birmingham Ave., Jasper

• “Willie” — Bankhead House & Heritage Center, 800 7th St., Jasper

• “Liz” — Nick Sanders Jewelers, 1811 Hwy. 78 E, Jasper

• “Jigsaw - Pieces of Childhood” — Dabbs & Hyland, 1513 Pediatric Drive, Jasper

• “Uncle B” — Bankhead House & Heritage Center, 800 7th St., Jasper

• “Spiney” — Boshell Family Chiropractic, 84 Hwy. 195, Manchester.