New Bolin Creek Trail Art on Display, Just in Time for National Trails Day

June 7, 2021

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This Saturday, June 5, is designated as National Trails Day — a celebration of local trails and green spaces that also happens to coincide with news from our community regarding art installations on the Bolin Creek Trail.

The Bolin Creek Trail has seen quite a few improvements in the recent past, in terms of both artwork and construction, and folks walking the trail on National Trails Day will spot some new art from muralist J Massullo and several Chapel Hill High School students and staff near the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard tunnel that serves to complement the existing “Florifauns” mural.

“Right now, the Bolin Creek trail has just been connected under MLK Boulevard,” said Steve Wright, public art coordinator for Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture. “There’s been a tunnel there for the creek for many years, but there’s never been a path that you could really walk or bike on very well. Parks and recreation just finished that connection this spring, and they were very interested in making that general area look better. So, we hired J to come and share his wonderful artwork with us on not only on the OWASA pipes, but also on the tunnel faces themselves.”

Muralist J Massullo is responsible for artwork elsewhere in Orange County, as well as murals in Raleigh and Durham. His partnership and collaboration with Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture has brought his artistic skill and flair to local public art.

“I got a lot of creative freedom, which, doing commissions, you don’t always get,” said Massullo. “But Steve and his team seem to be really receptive of cool ideas and just wanted cool artwork and trusted me to make it happen. And I think it did.”

The new art, done with help from Chapel Hill High School students and staff, takes direct inspiration from the natural world to transform crucial infrastructure into beautiful, fantastical art.

“It’s kind of always hard to put your finger on where inspiration comes from,” said Massullo. “But I’ve certainly always been interested in nature … the natural beauty of tiny things, little plants, insects, things all around and everywhere, beautiful and ornate.”