01-22-14-cumberland-county.gifWhat does Cumberland County look like? This age-old question has been the centerpiece of major philosophical debate for centuries. From the time of the prophets, scripture has tackled this mystery with verses stating, “Yea, I say unto thee that no man shall know the true nature of Cumberland, for this land is great with Army and the stores of pawn.” (II Opinions 8:2).

Great minds including Socrates, Voltaire and Friedrich Nietzsche have even devoted exhaustive study to this quandary to no avail. Fortunately, this brain buster has finally been answered with a zip line and ceramic eagle head.

In the Fall of 2013, students from Fayetteville State University’s Art 452-01 Ceramics IV class were asked to create a work of art for the stairwell of the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. This project resulted in a fascinating mural by talented students giving their interpretation of exactly what Cumberland County looks like. The final pieces of art depict the zip line experience, a parachutist, Marquis de LaFayette and, as promised, a couple of eagle heads with one representing the Great Seal of the United States. This mural is currently on display at the bureau and patrons are encouraged to visit.

The eight students who worked on the mural are: Frankie Freeman, Monica Griffin, Yavaughn Jackson, Su Kim, Damien Mathis, Sylvester “PJ” Purdie, Dayshaun Tate and Jasmine Williams.

FACVB President and CEO John Meroski said, “We’re honored to showcase the student’s depiction of the question we posed — ‘What does Cumberland County look like?’” He went on to give thanks to FSU Service Learning and the students for their hard work on the mural and called it Freedom of Expression in Action.

Class instructor and Associate Professor in Visual Arts Socorro Hernandez-Hinek said, “This was an opportunity for young students to apply their training, skills and creative talent through a partnership with the real world,”

Dr. Ernest Lamb, chair of the Department of Performing and Fine Arts said, “I’m so grateful for the leadership and guidance Socorro Hernandez-Hinek provided our art students during the course of this service learning project. The tag line for the Department of Performing and Fine Arts is ‘Building community through the arts.’ I can think of no better way to demonstrate our commitment to this ideal than through public art projects like this.”

Fayetteville State University itself is an important part of Cumberland County history. Founded in 1867, FSU is the second-oldest public institution in North Carolina. It offers nearly 60 degrees in the arts, sciences, business and education at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. As for where the mural is on display. The Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is a private, not-for-profit organization responsible for positioning Fort Bragg and Cumberland County as a destination for conventions, sporting events and individual travel. For additional information on the mural, visit ww.VisitFayettevilleNC.com or call 1-800-255-8217.

Photo: Fayetteville State University students answered the question “What does Cumberland County look like?” Their answers were expressed in ceramic and are posted as a mural at the Fayetteville Area Conven-tion and Visitors Bureau.

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