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Rock Hill will get a new mural from international artist Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey
Jon Furlong
Courtesy ObeyGiant.com
Shepard Fairey

Downtown Rock Hill will get a new mural this weekend from international street artist Shepard Fairey, widely known for designing former President Barack Obama's "Hope" campaign poster.

The large-scale mural will be painted on a wall located at 153 E. White Street, and will feature elements of Rock Hill's history as a textile town transformed by the railroad and the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, woven together with symbols of peace and humanity.

The mural will measure roughly 156 feet by 25 feet, and Fairey will create it using one of his preferred methods: stencils and spray paint.

153 E. White Street in downtown Rock Hill.
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Fairey, who is also known for activist artwork, graphic design, and his OBEY clothing brand, says he spent a lot of time in Rock Hill as a child visiting both sets of his grandparents, who still live in the town.

The artist will travel to Rock Hill on Friday, and he'll begin work on the mural Saturday morning. The mural is expected to take two to three days to complete.

The project is funded by a public/private partnership between the Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation (using the Barre Mitchel Community Initiatives Fund), Catalyst Capital Partners and the Women's Art Initiative.

In addition, 60 art pieces by Fairey have been chosen for public display and sale inside the building on East White Street. The pieces can be viewed Wednesdays through Sundays from 4 to 8 p.m. from Oct. 17 - 31.

Shepard Fairey artwork.jpg
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Art pieces by Shepard Fairey will be on display inside the building on E. White Street.

Fairey said he's excited to return to Rock Hill to visit family and friends and he said he hopes his mural will add to Rock Hill's culture and promote the town's sense of identity.

"I think art is good for communities," Fairey said, going on to quote Thomas Wolfe, who wrote "culture is the arts elevated to a set of beliefs."

"My little, teeny sliver of trying to create some culture is what I'm excited about, and hopefully that opens doors for other people too," he said.

Upon completing the mural in Rock Hill, Fairey will travel north to Charlotte, where he's planning to next paint a mural on the exterior of Queens University's Sarah Belk Gambrell Center. The university is planning to hold a public discussion with the artist about his work on Oct. 22.

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Nick de la Canal is an on air host and reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal