New mural to grace exterior wall at Tryon Theatre

Published 12:55 pm Friday, March 31, 2023

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Project expected to be completed in a few weeks


TRYON–If you’ve recently noticed scaffolding and someone working on the roof of Upstairs Artspace next to the Tryon Theatre, you’re seeing the beginning of a new piece of public art on one of the theater’s exterior walls.

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“We’ve always had that black wall up there, which should be something other than just a black wall,” says Tryon Theatre owner Scott Lane. “We’ve always thought that had potential, that it has to be something,” 


Lane and his wife Gail hired artist Judy Dempsey, who lives in Lake Lure, to paint a mural on the wall. Dempsey came up with a design showing a large film strip and images of Morris the horse with a mountain backdrop. 


The mural will be very visible to people entering Tryon from South Carolina once they reach the top of the hill where the railroad tracks cross Trade Street.


“I’ve always thought that’s kind of an important vista when you’re coming up over the tracks and you see the first row of commercial buildings,” says Lane. “It kind of gives you a first impression of Tryon coming from that direction.”


Dempsey has been a mural artist for 20 years and sees this project as a way for her to make her own mark in a town known for its artistic culture and heritage.


“You get to share your art in a big way and it touches a lot of people,” says Dempsey. “It’s rewarding. I don’t know how to explain it. It just feeds my soul.”


Dempsey started this week, painting much of the black wall white, drawing an outline of the mural and began painting the actual images. She says weather permitting, the project should be finished in just a few weeks.