Rosa T. Beard Bridge Mural Drawing Critics - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Rosa T. Beard Bridge Mural Drawing Critics

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Augusta, GA -

It's now a blank wall on the Rosa T. Beard Bridge, where R.A. Dent Boulevard becomes Wrightsboro Road. But, the plan is to paint an 80-foot by 20-foot mural there in tribute to Beard, though many in the area are not aware of that.

"That would be lovely, she was a very beautiful person, very beautiful person," said Rose Williams, who lives nearby.

The mural has been approved by the steering committee for the 15th Street Development Project. The artists have shown off the design off to Augusta Commissioners, and a lot of prep work was done to get it ready to go on the wall.

"I think it's absolutely beautiful and the reason I like it [is] because it has elements that the people of 15th Street choose, I'm no artist myself I think it's indicative of what people would like to see the community become," said John Paul Stout, manager of the Augusta Sustainable Development Department.

Paine College is part of the 15th Street community, and Beard was a Paine graduate, but Paine College isn't welcoming this mural to the neighborhood. 

Paine College officials saw the Mural Tuesday night. It features a young woman and a young couple, there's an eagle, but to Paine College's Brandon Brown, it doesn't capture the contributions Beard made. "When you're talking about this historic community, some of the things we would have expected to be more showcased were not there," said Brown.  

Those working on the 15th Street project feel criticism of the mural design should have been made sooner, rather than now. 

"It was included in every one of the public presentations...which Mister Brown's personal administrator was present at every one of the meetings, so we didn't hear any negative feedback," Stout says.

The contracts with the artists have already been signed, and the work is expected to start any day now, but project developers say they've heard Paine's concerns and slight alterations will be made, especially to the young woman in the mural.

A federal grant is paying the $24,000 cost of the mural.

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