By Jeanna Baxter White
Visitors heading into Historic Downtown Mocksville on Gaither Street are receiving a brightly-colored welcome. A new mural reminiscent of the postcards of the 1960s -70s offering “Greetings from Mocksville, NC” gleams from the back of The Station General Store & Taproom at 185 North Main.
Commissioned by Bryan and Suzanne Lakey, owners of The Station, which opened in June 2020, the 96 sq ft mural is the second to grace downtown Mocksville in the last six months.
The inspiration for the mural came from an old postcard that Suzanne’s mom, Kathy Miller, found in the Davie County Public Library’s online archives while searching for old photos of the building to use as part of The Station’s decor.
“Bryan and I knew that we wanted a mural somewhere and when we saw the postcard I knew that it had to be it,” said Suzanne Lakey. After The Station was up and running, she turned to local artist, Bruce White, owner of Wild Mountain Designs and Art, for assistance.
White has painted nine murals in Davie County over the last thirteen years. He recently completed a mural at Davie Community Park depicting aspects of the park which was commissioned by the Leadership Davie Class of 2020. His murals can also be found in the Davie County Public Library, Central Davie Academy, The Feed Bag Restaurant in Historic Farmington, and the former United Way building.
After receiving the postcard and doing some additional research, he went to work on the design and painted a small canvas to show her what it would look like. While the original postcard featured iconic landmarks from across the state, White customized his design specifically to Mocksville. Embedded in the bold letters of the word Mocksville are mini-scenes reflecting Mocksville both past and present. Starting from the left you’ll see the courthouse, The Station back when it was a gas station, the fountain and clock in Main Street Park, the original train depot with the first train to come to Mocksville, and one of the town’s willow oaks in all of its glory. A willow oak branch graces the bottom right-hand corner.
“When I saw it I literally squealed! It was so perfect!” exclaimed Lakey with a grin. “Bruce really took what was in my head and brought it to life.”
By merging both the past and the present, she hopes the mural will appeal to the older generation as well as the newer “selfie” generation. In fact, White used chalk to outline people on the wall to determine the best positioning for selfies before he began painting.
He shared that while the three weeks he spent painting the mural had its challenges – one day was so windy it blew the paint off his brush and another so cold he had to quit when his fingers were too numb to paint – it also had its perks.
“It was fun having people come up to take a look and several of my former students and their parents stopped by to say ‘hi.’ One gentleman asked to take a picture and another posted it as the cover shot on his Facebook page”
White has also been pleased with the rave reviews “Greetings from Mocksville, NC” has received on his Facebook page, comments like:
“This is beautiful, Bruce! Another great piece of art you’ve created. We are all so proud to have it downtown. Thank you!!” and “God gives amazing gifts to people, you use “yours” so well… Thank you for sharing it with us all.”
Lakey has also been thrilled with the response. “For me, the goal of the mural was the same as that of The Station, to continue bringing people downtown and keeping the environment lively.”
Others share her goal. White has already started a mural on the building next door. Attorney Ryan Addison has commissioned a flying pig which is well underway to completion. White invites the community to stop by and watch it unfold. “I have traveled extensively over the years in many states across the United States and other countries and have found a beauty in the art of every place I have visited. Art truly brings out beauty and helps connect people.”
In addition to painting murals, White sells DIY painting kits which can be ordered from his website.
The Station General Store & Taproom is open Tuesday – Thursday 10 a.m.- 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., and 1 – 6 p.m. on Sunday. It can be reached at (336) 753-8002. The Station offers a variety of family-friendly events each week. Follow them on Facebook for details.