Artists at work

Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Artists Candice Dunigan (left) and Brooke Aguilar joined their talents to paint a mural of the history of Black Oak on the building that will house the future museum.

Candice Dunigan and Brooke Aguilar have combined their talents to create a mural on the wall of the future Black Oak Museum.

Plans for a museum have been in the works for several months and thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Arkansas Rural Services work has begun.

The main street building which is the former Otto Chrisco Cash Mercantile will soon house the museum.

Dunigan and Aguilar are art teachers in the Manila School District. Dunigan teaches in the high school and Aguilar teaches in the elementary school.

A sketching of the mural was created and represents the history of Black Oak. It will feature the two-story school which closed in 1956; Johnson's Drive-In, a well-known landmark of the area; the gas station that once stood where the car wash is now located; the old train station; and the 1924 tomato canning factory. The buildings will be in the horizon of the large cotton fields displayed on the wall. Also, a large painting of John Grisham, famous author and Black Oak native, and the Black Oak Arkansas band's album cover "High on the Hog" will be painted with the cotton fields in the center.

Dunigan, along with Lane McKinley (now of Ft. Smith) painted the mural on a Monette wall in 2008. That was her last mural project.

Aguilar said she worked on a mural at the Ritz Civic Center when she was in high school but this is her first mural project.

The city had the tuck-point work and primer done preparing the brick wall for painting.

The two started painting about the middle of July and expect to have it finished by the end of August.

Mayor Dunigan said in an earlier interview he is excited about the project and plans to develop a committee as the project progresses.

"The building is structually sound and we are ready to go to work," he said. "We have several items ready to be displayed. The city has the old podium from the Methodist Church, a sign from the Mangrum Church of Christ, a bench from the Black Oak Church of Christ, and other items."

Mayor Dunigan said the building was provided by a former Black Oak resident, Wanda Carroll.

The grant will pay for a heating and air unit for the building, the mural and other repairs.

A lot of the history of Black Oak will be exhibited on the mural.

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