2010-11-25 / Front Page

Cafeteria is a showplace thanks to Leonard Jones and student council

Lincolnton folk artist Leonard Jones poses with one of the paintings he created to spruce up the cafeteria at LCMS. The largest of the paintings, it features the Lincoln County Courthouse; the Savannah River Bridge; the entrance to Elijah Clark Park, with a boy fishing near the park’s dock; Graves Mountain; and the City of Lincolnton’s welcome sign. Lincolnton folk artist Leonard Jones poses with one of the paintings he created to spruce up the cafeteria at LCMS. The largest of the paintings, it features the Lincoln County Courthouse; the Savannah River Bridge; the entrance to Elijah Clark Park, with a boy fishing near the park’s dock; Graves Mountain; and the City of Lincolnton’s welcome sign. The cafeteria at the middle school has a new look, courtesy of the LCMS Student Council and artist Leonard Jones.

According to Christie Bryan, former student council sponsor, “For the past eight years, the student council members have worked hard to raise money to get a mural painted in the cafeteria. However, a mural proved to be too expensive, so the student council commissioned Leonard Jones, a renowned folk artist from Lincolnton, to create various paintings to hang on the cafeteria walls.”

The largest of the paintings is 4’ x 8’, while the smallest ones are 4’ x 4’.

As for the subject of each of the paintings, Bryan asked several people, young and old, the following question: “When you think of Lincoln County, what do you think of?”

She received many different responses, such as hanging out with friends at the Monument or the Hobby Corner in town; riding a school bus to and from school;

Full-service gas stations, such as Smalley’s and Jackson’s; the Lincolnton Masonic Lodge; the Home Café; Graves Mountain; the Milky Way Freeze Bar; the bridge between Lincolnton and McCormick.

Fishing, swimming, and boating at the lake; old country stores; Elijah Clark State Park; Soap Creek Restaurant; the courthouse; the turn-around, which is also known as Eddie Fletcher Park; and Buddy Bufford Field.

“Using these responses and many others, I went around the county and took photographs of the different sites,” said Bryan. “Since we only had a limited amount of money to spend on the paintings, we had to narrow down the landmarks as much as we could — we even combined a few of them into one painting.”

The paintings depict the following scenes:

..Goolsby’s Store, with several cars parked out in front.

.. The Monument, with the gas station and the Home Café in the background.

.. The corner of Peachtree Street and School Street, with the vintage Coca-Cola sign on the side of the Hobby Corner and kids hanging around out in front of the store.

..A Lincoln County school bus picking up children for school.

.. The stands at Buddy Bufford Field, complete with middle school football players and cheerleaders.

.. LCMS, with kids playing out in front.

.. The courthouse; the Savannah River Bridge; the entrance to Elijah Clark Park, with a boy fishing near the park’s dock; Graves Mountain; and the City of Lincolnton’s welcome sign.

Michee Ferguson, school secretary at LCMS, said, “It is wonderful to have the paintings displayed in our lunchroom. The students are able to view landmarks in the community in an artistic way that may inspire them and foster pride in their hometown.”

In other comments, Bryan stated, “Mr. Jones did a fabulous job on the paintings and gave the student council a discounted price which, when compared to the cost of a mural, amounted to a gigantic donation to the school. Without his generosity, these paintings would not have been possible.”

The former club advisor also thanked Nancy Blount and Lincoln County Family Connection for purchasing the molding to frame the paintings; the construction class at LCHS for varnishing the molding; Jeff Little, high school construction teacher, and Glenn Bryan for cutting the molding and framing the paintings; and Bryan, Martha Curry, and Melynda Poss for helping hang the paintings in the cafeteria.

“Due to the community spirit and kindness of all of these wonderful adults, our middle school students now have beautiful works of art to appreciate and admire every day during lunch,” said Bryan.

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