“When someone has the courage to suggest something bold, I listen,” said Greg Mehfoud, the director of corporate culture for English Meadows Senior Living Community. That’s why he paid attention when Virginia Tech architecture student Charlie Crotteau started the ball rolling on the colorful mural rising above Crozet’s downtown.
Not sure how to propose his idea, Crotteau, 21, wrote to the company using an online form. “Charlie actually used an application to be a resident to submit his idea for a mural,” Mehfoud said. “As soon as I read his suggestion, I thought it was a great idea.”
Crotteau’s former Western Albemarle High School classmate Emmy Thacker was the artist Charlie had in mind for the project, and she created a rendering using fruit as a theme (see the Gazette’s March edition). As the project developed, she added words, the Blue Ridge landscape, and additional colorful products of local farms and orchards.
“I thought it was important to add a greeting (“Welcome to Crozet”) to the sign,” Thacker said. “This is such a landmark. I also wanted to highlight the mountains and add the berries.” She transferred her final rendering to the south-facing wall, using a grid system to enlarge the whimsical design.
Thacker, Crotteau and a couple of volunteers were hard at work in late May with paintbrushes and a forklift, filling in the stenciled outline in the blazing sun. The crew hopes to finish in early June. They applied the acrylic paint from the top down, Crotteau said, because the forklift was available for only a short time. Meanwhile, people on foot stopped to watch and thank the young artists. Those passing by in cars and trucks honked and waved their approval.