To fully tell the story of the new Murfreesboro mural located on Vine Street, we need to go back fifteen years to when a group of long-time friends started receiving luxury care and pampering whenever they went to visit their friend Susan Loyd at her home in Bonita Beach, Florida. The ladies, who were dubbed the ‘Wild Cherries’, decided to pay back their friend’s kindness and generosity this year by funding the dreams of a young woman of their acquaintance, Mira Patel. Patel hoped to create a mural on a wall in downtown Murfreesboro that would add to public art and bring the community together.
Mural Tribute to a Giving Friend
“Susan has always given so much to us,” said Patty Marschel, one of the members of the Wild Cherries, “that we chose to honor our friend by funding Mira’s dream. Norris Hall and Susan Loyd have known each other for a long time, so it was natural to have him be the artist to design the mural.”
Forty-Year Friends’ Adventures Lead to Mural
The Wild Cherries — also known as Susan Loyd, Lucinda Lea, Wren Jones, Pam Kious, Andrea Loughry, Bev MacSherry, Marilyn Newsom, Patty Marschel, and Rhea Seddon — have gone every year to see Loyd in Florida when she is down there during the winter. She has always shown them a first-rate time. So, when she returns to Murfreesboro in May, for years the ladies have taken Loyd on adventures, mostly in and around Middle Tennessee. One such adventure was to dress up as tourists during Fan Fair and hit the streets of Nashville with the crowd.
“As we were getting off a bus in front of Tootsie’s from a tour,” said Marschel, “the barker in front called out to our group, calling us ‘Wild Cherries,’ and trying to get us into the bar. The name stuck. We’ve been calling ourselves that ever since.”
This year instead of an adventure, they decided to fund the mural. Loughry, the Patel Family, and many members of the Rutherford Arts Alliance, as well as community members like Tim Bolin of Hoover Paint, who provided all of the paint, were the ones who made it all happen according to Marschel.
Community Came Together to Create Artwork
“It was great going down there on Saturday when they were doing most of the painting and seeing so many people in the community, young people and older, coming together to work on the mural,” said Marschel. “We had so much fun all joining into the project. It was great because all of the Wild Cherries were in town. We wanted to get it done before Susan left again.”
Loyd’s Deep Roots in Community
Susan Loyd has been involved in giving her time and resources to the quality of life in Murfreesboro for many years. She has been a long-time member of Charity Circle, and she started their first auction fundraiser which benefits many local non-profits. She was also instrumental in the preservation of the old Murfreesboro Library/Post Office by turning it into the Center for the Arts. For almost 30 years, she and Marschel owned The Cotton Patch.
Norris Hall Joins the Project
“Andrea Loughry was the one who contacted me,” said Norris Hall, the well-known local artist who is best known for his cartoonish fish designs. “She told me about their ideas for the project. How could I say no?”
Members of the Wild Cherries and members of the Rutherford Arts Alliance threw out concepts. The cityscape came out of the discussion. Hall pulled all of the ideas together into another of his fun and inventive creations. He added the ladies who started it all in one corner, immortalized on that bus they were getting off of when they received their name.
How the Wall Got Painted
On a Friday night, Hall, a number of local artists, including Ginny Togrye, Susan Gulley, and Suzanne LeBeau, and others from the community helped transfer the design to the wall, then each color was numbered. On Saturday, those who painted chose a section of the wall with a specific number. They were then given paint that corresponded to the number they chose. Like paint-by-number kits, they then painted just the areas marked with that number. Hall has persevered, even through a rain storm on Saturday afternoon created havoc with the painting.
“I’ll just keep painting on it until it’s done,” added Hall. “The poem was added after all the main painting was finished. It’s by one of the Wild Cherries. And then I‘m filling in the finishing touches.”
Mural as First of Many to Come
Out of this venture, the Rutherford Arts Alliance has been able to work with the city on developing a faster process to get a mural from concept to finished product. This was what participants hope to be the first of many such projects, bringing in more artists, businesses, and community members.
Tribute Brings Community Together
“It’s been such a touching community effort,” said Marschel. “and such a great tribute to our friend. We just want the mural to honor friendship and community. Both mean so much to all of us.”