The historic Braselton Brothers Department Store’s brown brick exterior is welcoming a splash of color.
Vibrantly painted pieces of artwork now adorn five of the building’s doors as a part of Downtown Braselton’s public art efforts.
Amy Pinnell, Downtown Braselton director, said she sent out a call to local artists to submit door designs in May. The town’s Urban Development Authority and downtown staff narrowed down 55 entrees to their favorite five, which includes works from Genevieve Wilburn, Elizabeth Breitbarth, Emiko Kuhs, Marisa Mustard and Madeline Mrozek.
“We were looking for nature, art and beauty,” Pinnell said. “Everybody did such a great job.”
Genevieve, a 13-year-old World Language Academy student, was one of five selected for the project. Although it was the middle schooler’s first time producing public art, Genevieve embraced the new endeavor.
“It was definitely an interesting task to do,” she said. “Ater the first day, and getting used to how big the door was, it got pretty manageable.”
Hues of every color of the rainbow surround a figure holding an umbrella on Genevieve's painted door, which is located by Cotton Calf Kitchen. Genevieve said she was inspired by Leonid Afremov’s painting titled, “Red Umbrella.”
“I like lots of color in my art,” she said. “I’m really glad I got chosen. It’s really exciting.”
Amber Wilburn, Genevieve’s mother, said her daughter’s passion for art started at an early age.
“When I would go pick up from pre-K, she would say, ‘I can’t go yet, I’m not finished,’” Wilburn recounted. “I’d have to wait on my 4-year-old to get done with her drawing.”
Also near the Cotton Calf Kitchen, lies Mustard’s painted door flaunting brightly colored flowers of blue, yellow, red, green and pink.
The Athens native is no stranger to practical artwork. She became a fulltime artist while living in New Orleans, then later took her talent to New Mexico, and more recently, Athens. Some of her preferred canvases include mailboxes, instruments, light switches, fences and other public architecture.
“I just really enjoy painting art that people can use,” Mustard said. “Just because generally, if I was going to buy a piece of art, I’d want it to be something you can wear and use every day.”
Located by Artistic Expressions Hair Salon, stands Mrozek’s door painting. Mrozek, a rising senior at Mill Creek High School in Hoschton, said she wanted something fun to do over the summer, and was drawn to the downtown Braselton project.
Her artwork displays flowers bursting from a person’s mind to envelope most of the door. Mrozek said she came up with the design before the Black Lives Matter Movement demonstrations began this year and feels the piece sends an appropriate message, especially during the nation’s current climate.
“Everyone’s mind is individual,” she said. “The flowers represent that it can be unique and beautiful. I want people to feel like they can see themselves as the silhouette, as the person. I want them to see that’s they're unique and be happy being themselves.”