By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – When the Tupelo Farmers’ Market officially opens for the season today, customers will find more than vendors selling fruits, vegetables, plants, herbs and baked goods.
They’ll also find 10 to 15 Tupelo High School art students with paintbrushes in hand, working on a 20-by-70-foot mural on the side of a building north of the market.
“They sketched it out one evening in two hours,” said Anna Lindsey Garner, the students’ art teacher. “They did the sketch at night so they could project it onto the wall to keep everything to scale. They weren’t even scared to be on scaffolding.”
The mural depicts a large tractor and crates of fresh fruits and vegetables with the words “Buy Fresh Produce” across the top.
“Kit Stafford at the GumTree Museum of Art knows I’ve wanted my kids to do a mural downtown,” Garner said. “When this opportunity came along, she told me about it.”
The students are all juniors and just-graduated seniors at the high school.
“The seniors I’ve taught three years in a row,” Garner said. “We have an art club and most of them are involved in that. These are a great group of dedicated kids. They’re the same kids that helped me paint guitars for downtown Tupelo.”
The Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association is providing all the supplies for the mural, said Allie West, a program associate for the association, which operates the market.
“We’d been wanting to have a mural on that wall and the students submitted a design to us,” West said. “They sketched it on May 5 and they’ll be working on it every Saturday until they get it finished.”
Garner said she’s hoping the artwork will be completed by the end of June.
“Their goal is to work on it on Saturdays from 6 to 10 a.m.,” she said. “We’re trying to get it done before it gets too hot.”
The market, located on South Spring Street near Clark Street, opens at 6 a.m. today and will likely close up about noon.
It will also be open every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 a.m. until noon through October.