Hardin working magic again in city

Published 12:29 am Saturday, March 15, 2014

Wes Hardin repairs minor vandalism at the cotton mural on River Falls Street Friday.

Wes Hardin repairs minor vandalism at the cotton mural on River Falls Street Friday.

If the name Wes Hardin sounds familiar to you – it should. His work can be seen throughout Andalusia’s downtown district in the form of murals that depict the area’s past. Friday, Hardin was in town for two reasons: to prep the “canvas” of his next mural; and to clean up after minor damage was done by vandals to pieces located at the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce.

Chrissie Duffy, executive director of the chamber, said what looked to be the work of kids overnight Wednesday resulted in some graffiti damage to the wall where Hardin’s pieces hang. Friday, Hardin said it looked as if the vandals had also managed to pull one of the five-foot paintings off hits brackets, but said no major damage was done.

“I think it was just curiosity killed the cat,” he said. “They probably just pulled on it and yanked it off.”

While correcting the damage done at the chamber, Hardin said he would be heading to the site of his next mural before going back to Dothan Friday afternoon.

“This will be my eighth mural for the city,” Hardin said, counting the pieces at the chamber office as one work. “We’ve doing this for about three years now. (The city) wanted to tell the stories of local businesses and the history of this area. This was really the perfect marriage.”

Hardin’s latest project, a mural focusing on the World Championship Domino Tournament, will be located on the Church Street side of the Prestwood building.

“I’m headed over there to do some priming, and hopefully we’ll get started next week,” he said, adding the mural could be done in April.

The mural features Dr. Charles Tomberlin, the Rotarian whose idea it was to start the tournament in 1976, as well as the three most famous people who ever played in the tournament – legendary University of Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant; Southern comedian Jerry Clower; and former Auburn University coach Doug Barfield, who was an Andalusia High School coach before rising in the college ranks.

“It’s a really neat concept,” Hardin said of the murals. “I keep telling them they should get someone better than me to do it.”

“I guess they just keep wanting mediocre murals,” he said with a grin.

Hardin, who currently lives in Dothan, said it has been a treat to work with the city of Andalusia, something he said happened out of the blue when Pat Palmore, chairwoman of the Murals Committee, initially called him about the project.

“It’s funny,” he said. “Years ago I dated a girl from a place called Andalusia, and we came through on the way to the beach once. I never thought I’d be working here.”

Now, Hardin says it has been a privilege to tell the history of the Andalusia area through his artwork.

“They’re just so nice here,” he said. “You know, you get together for meetings, and everyone has a word of prayer. That’s great.”

Hardin also has completed sketches for a piney woods cattle mural, to be funded in part with a grant from the Alabama Allied Arts Council and destined for the Powell Furniture building. Another mural featuring law enforcement and some of the older businesses, is also planned.

for 2014.