thE Mosaic Mural
It was important for us to somehow depict, on the outside of the building, the rich heritage that has meant so much to the Down East Community.
At a Down East Council meeting, I asked if anyone knew of art students that might be willing to painting a mural on the outside of the building. Barbara Garrity-Blake mentioned that she had a friend, LaNelle Davis who was looking for a canvas Down East, on which to create one of her mosaic murals.
Lanelle met with our family and we instantly formed a great friendship. Lanelle worked from March - November of 2019, creating a beautiful mosaic mural based on a photograph depicting Lula Willis Fulcher, Rena Wade Piner and Lela Thomas opening clams back in the 1950’s. Each piece of the mosaic was hand-cut by Lanelle from dishes contributed by descendants of folks who used to work at the clam house. The clams on the wall are reclaimed from the property itself. This labor of love is on display for everyone to enjoy. Please stop by whenever you are in the area.
LaNelle Davis began her mosaic art journey with artist/mentor, Virginia Bullman in 1994. Between 1994-2005, they created over 25 large, sculptural women honoring the strong, rural women from their childhoods. While most were commissioned for private gardens in the southeast, one public installation can be found at the Amtrack Station in Wilson, NC and another on Weaver Street in Carrboro, NC.
LaNelle studied with legendary Philadelphia, Pa. mosaic mural artist Isaiah Zagar in 2012 and with his protégé, Laurel True, in New Orleans, La. in 2014 & 2016.
From 2012-2014 LaNelle created two large mosaic murals in Pittsboro, NC. In 2019 she completed her third on the former Willis Brothers Seafood building in Williston, NC to honor the community and the area’s long fishing heritage.
Her sculptural mosaic work with Bullman has been featured in Creating with Concrete by Sherri Warner Hunter and in Creative Garden Mosaics by Jill MacKay.