13Downtown Fayetteville is seeing an artful beautification revolution. Businesses are giving the outside of their buildings photo-worthy upgrades with murals.
The Capital Encore Academy hosts a colorful, whimsical mural by artist Dare Coulter and The Sweet Palette just finished their enchanting addition to the side of their building. Back-A-Round Records is the latest business to add a piece of what will become downtown Fayetteville's history.
The new mural, already being affectionately referred to as the “J. Cole” mural, is now one of the biggest highlights of the downtown area thanks to the joint effort of Back-A-Round Records' owner Shawn Adkins and NY-based multifaceted artist Andaluz the Artist.
The mural is the brainchild of Andaluz, who is creating a new series of art that combines his two masteries’ rap and art. This series will explore small cities, the people that make them, and the legends that make them. Not only is Fayetteville the new proud owner of the J. Cole mural, but it is also the background for the latest documentary-style music video by Andaluz and his team. “…half of it is in New York and the other half is in Fayetteville. My boy Darrell Dove, he’s my videographer/photographer from Atlanta came up to Fayetteville. He shot that.”
Those who are interested in seeing the video should follow Andaluz the Artist and Back-A-Round Records on social media for updates on its big release. Andaluz hinted that there could be a viewing party coming soon for Fayetteville.
The project aims to not only bring new art to small cities but show the world what those places have to offer.
“I wanted to do something where I give people their roses while they're still alive. I admire what they do and look up to some of their work. When it came to J. Cole, it was multiple factors. One was like, he was just on fire. With his first set of tracks, I was just like man, J. Cole is killing it. Secondly, it was like, he has talked about Fayetteville so much. This year I was focusing on not just New York and not just bigger cities, but smaller cities, smaller towns around the country that don’t get that big city love, so me being from a big city I was like, you know what. I’m going to go and understand those parts of the country.
"In 2024, I want to go around and meet these amazing, lovely people and interact with them, so it was like, ‘let’s go paint the J. Cole mural and interact with people.’ And also I do music. Each mural that I’m trying to put together, that’s my idea. Not a client job but my idea. I wanted to do a track and music video for each one because no one else is painting and rapping at this point right here and I wanted to open up a new lane for artists. You can be creative in any form, you don’t have to just stick to one. So that was the whole goal when it came to this project,” Andaluz explained.
Shawn Adkins, owner of Back-A-Round Records, local musician, and art patron, financially backed the new project and ensured its location in Fayetteville. The previous owner of the highly loved and missed, live music venue, The Rock Shop, Adkins has been making it his personal and humble mission to ensure art of all forms is appreciated and available to the Fayetteville community and beyond.
“When I bought the building six years ago, I saw that big ugly white wall that I had and I knew I wanted a mural on there and what I wanted on the mural was to capture what Fayetteville means," Adkins said. "That was the main goal. It was right in the middle of the Market Square of downtown Fayetteville… I put it off for a long time… One day at the very beginning of this year I got a call from somebody. It was Andaluz and he was saying something about doing a mural with J. Cole in it. I was like man, you called the right person because I was thinking basically the same thing. Especially being that I had something to do with J. Cole’s first time on stage. He was talking about doing a Fayetteville mural that integrates everything about Fayetteville and I was like, ‘man we’re talking the same language.’”
For anyone who has not checked out the mural, it covers the lower half of the Back-A-Round Records building facing Green Street. The location is perfect for making the mural the backdrop for photo-ops, content creation or just enjoying a stroll downtown. Fayetteville truly embraced the artist while he was in the city.
Andaluz exclaimed, “In Fayetteville, I had such a great time. I had brought my family. I brought my wife, my daughter. And Darrell and his family. They came down so… my family had a great time. The people who are there are amazing… it was amazing for me to see how many people knew each other. When they came to the plot… everybody just knew each other. And it was interracial and there were so many races and backgrounds of people who were just like appreciating it. And I just love that. People were getting together because of the art and having a good time.
"So many companies and businesspeople like dropped-off stuff. I had people giving me like little barbeque sauces they made and some of their food and t-shirts and all types of cool gifts, that people were just like, ‘here takes this, thank you so much.’”
With summer approaching, the mural is sure to be the highlight of some photos and conversation. Andaluz the Artist hopes to bring more of his art to the city and brighten up other businesses in the area.

(Photo: The new mural downtown features local rapper J. Cole and focuses on what makes Fayetteville unique.  Photo by Aly Hansen.)

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