By Raquel Goddard
VALDOSTA, Ga. – On June 7, 2019 the City of Valdosta unveiled its newest artistic feature in the form of large and beautiful flowers painted on the side of a building in downtown Valdosta. The scenic mural of pink azaleas, which is located at 136 N. Ashley Street, catches the eye of every pedestrian and driver on Central Avenue. Well placed, this large piece of art reminds passersby that Valdosta is the Azalea City.
Being the Azalea City has always been an integral part of Valdosta’s identity, which not only makes the artwork a remarkable center piece, but also a representation of what it means to be a part of this city.
The project was commissioned by the Public Art Advisory Committee, who sought out a muralist to paint Valdosta’s trademark azaleas on the side of a building. They appropriately selected Janice Rago, a Valdosta State University educated artist, skilled at painting flowers. Designing an image that perfectly captures “The Azalea City,” was not too difficult for Rago, who, by her own description, mainly painted flowers while receiving her BFA in Studio Art.
Rago painted the ornate flowers, creating an elaborate design that brings both beauty and character to the downtown area. This bold artistic statement adds a fresh pop of color that promises to make the area more aesthetic for its visitors.
With the inclusion of this new mural, downtown Valdosta is progressively becoming a hub for artistry. The arts are well represented with the Dosta Playhouse and the Turner Center for the Arts, as well as an eclectic assortment of boutiques and shops, many of which sell and encourage local and regional artists.
Through the increasing involvement of the artistic community, the city is well on its way to building a charming and historic downtown.