Kelsey Montague

Street artist Kelsey Montague nears completion of her work, “Everyone Has A Seat In Johns Creek,” at Newtown Park Oct. 8. The work, commissioned by Leadership Johns Creek and Johns Creek Beautification, represents a spirit of unity to promote inclusiveness.

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Visitors to Newtown Park have something new in the way of scenery.

Leadership Johns Creek in partnership with Johns Creek Beautification raised the funds for an interactive mural celebrating the diversity of the city.

The #SeeTheCreek team is part of the 2020 graduating class of Leadership Johns Creek. By working with local businesses, private donors and fundraising, the team was able to raise $25,000 for the mural. Chad Smith, a member of the #SeeTheCreek team, said they chose to do a mural because they wanted to give the city something tangible with a lasting impact.

The mural titled “Everyone Has A Seat In Johns Creek” was painted by street artist Kelsey Montague, whose iconic interactive murals span the globe. Mostly known for her paintings of large butterfly wings, Montague has even been commissioned by Taylor Swift. She is also behind the inspiring #WHATLIFTSYOU movement.

Montague is selective about her projects, and she chose for Johns Creek as part of her Southeastern tour. Her murals draw a lot of attention, which was one of the factors Leadership Johns Creek considered.

“She's such a well-known artist that people actually do travel to make sure they get to as many murals as they can,” Smith said. “So, if someone's in Atlanta, they will search to see if she has any art spots around here and hopefully, that will drive some people to Johns Creek.”

The mural is on the south wall of the concession stand in Newtown Park across from the Mark Burkhalter Amphitheater. The piece is customized for Johns Creek, featuring six chairs with elements to represent the city and celebrate its diversity and promote inclusiveness.

“We didn’t want to leave anyone out, we wanted to represent as much as possible,” said Taña Welch, a member of #SeeTheCreek team. “The butterflies represent diversity, there’s a grad cap since Johns Creek is known for its schools, a bridge to represent the seven bridges in our city, a peach for our state and daffodils for the cancer survivors.”

Welch said she hopes the mural will bring a sense of unity.

“It's been a long, few months for so many different reasons,” she said. “I just hope that people see it, and it brings a smile.”

Other team members of #SeeTheCreek include Alex Almanza, Ron Best, Jacob Breeding, Camille Christopher, Carol Massie, Laura Rosser and Monica Rouse.

“We encourage everyone to visit Newtown Park and share your pictures to social media using the #SeeTheCreek,” Almanza said. “Art has the power to transform, to illuminate, to educate, inspire and motivate.”

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