2010-08-04 / Front Page

It’s started

Charlie Johnston of Canada has started cleaning the tallest structure in Miller County. Charlie Johnston of Canada has started cleaning the tallest structure in Miller County. Talking about a wash job, this young Canadian artist has taken on a job that seems insurmountable to us on the ground, but not to the cleaner/painter/artist or the mural committee that will oversee the project.

At nearly 100 feet above the ground in temperatures that have cooled down into the 100s plus, Charlie Johnston from Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada, has started pressure cleaning the silos on Main Street, getting the huge structure ready for its first paint job by patching and repairing uneven places. After it is ready, the sealing and painting of Colquitt’s newest and largest mural will begin.

The mural committee went to great lengths to choose just the right artist for this gigantic undertaking. They needed someone with experience and determination. The experience part was checked, and this artist has already proven himself capable of the task.

Talking about some hot work, Talking about some hot work, Charlie was born in 1962, in Selkirk, Manitoba. His father worked in construction and on bridges in Winnipeg. The muralist is educated in the arts and before he completed his education, he became well known as one of the top pictorial painters in the industry.

One of his larger comple- tions is on the side of a skyscraper he has painted a mural on in Canada, which is almost as tall as the one he is working on here in Colquitt.

Talking with the artist/ painter/building washer, he stated, “To me the next level involves larger commissions; work on the grand scale for the world arena, but with greater artistic freedom. It’s also about evolving murals as an art form. I have little litany; my best work is going to be my next work. I like to treat my work as a place to explore and experiment, my own little laboratory.”

This particular commission/ job will be anything but a little laboratory. The working silo owned by Birdsong Peanut Company is over 100 feet tall, and the entire surface of 26,700 square feet will be included in the overall design.

No one knows exactly what will go on the giant structure other than it will be a tribute to agriculture for the state of Georgia.

In 1999, the Millennium Mural Project began when the Colquitt/Miller Arts Council received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). One grant was given to each of the 50 states. Colquitt/Miller Arts Council won the grant for Georgia. From this, Colquitt became Georgia’s First Mural City, now with 11 murals around the city that draws visitors from all over the nation and the world.

In 2006, members of the Colquitt/Miller mural committee traveled to Edinburg, Scotland, where they won the bid to host the 2010 Global Mural, Arts and Cultural Tourism Association Conference starting in late October, and will show southern hospitality to the world for those who attend the conference, and all those who visit our unique town to see some of the murals painted by some of the best artists in the nation.

This project is funded through a RBEG grant from the USDA and many generous donations from area businesses and individuals.

To receive more information on Georgia’s First Mural City, call 229/758- 5450, or go on line at

Charlie and his wife, Sarah, who will be with him for three weeks, are amazed at the friendliness of the people in our little town.

To show Charlie some of that southern hospitality, a cold bottle of Georgia water or some gnat spray may be in order.

To see more about our artist from above, go to his website at http://www.c5artworks.com

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