Molly Must Shares Her Love Of History And Community Through Her Art
Asheville, NC – You may not know Molly Must by name, but if you are a resident of Marlinton, WV, or if you visit the small town frequently, you are more than likely familiar with at least one of her works of art. Molly painted the large mural on a prominent building [House of Style] on the side of the main thoroughfare. Here, she talks about her style of painting and the mural in Marlintown.
“I consider it historical fiction in a way,” she says. “There are writers that embellish stories and history that there aren’t really enough details to give a juicy story, but then they make up in between the gaps in the facts so that they can have a really interesting, juicy story that illustrates something that actually happened, but it might not have happened exactly the way they are illustrating it. The Marlinton mural is based on a lot of stories from ‘The Last Forest’ by G.D. McNeill, and it was also based on some poetry by Louise McNeill. I was just painting a picture of images that I had compiled to illustrate this story of the way things used to be.”
Molly’s love of art started when she was young and was nurtured by her family.
“I have definitely been drawing since I was a very little girl,” she says. “My mom encouraged me in doing art. We kind of grew up in a remote place without cable, so I definitely learned to entertain myself pretty well. My mother was an artist, and her mother was an artist; there’s a lot of artistic people in my family, so I kind of grew up around it.”
Molly began making murals on her own, talking with city officials and land owners in an effort to find places for her works. Some of that early work was done in Asheville, NC and it taught her some valuable lessons about dealing with state agencies and local arts groups.
“Well in the beginning, when I was first organizing, it took a long time to talk people into the idea of a mural before I actually got to paint it,” she says, “’cause I was organizing murals on public property. The interstate bridge is technically state property, so I had to work with the Department of Transportation. The land underneath the bridge is city property, so I was working with the public art board and the city of Asheville.”
“I was definitely getting an incredible education in bureaucracy when I was doing that. Basically, I was writing proposals, talking them into it and fundraising simultaneously.”
Molly now makes her home in North Carolina where she spreads art through the community just like she did in West Virginia. She’s part of a group that’s working to revitalize a local park.
“We are going to paint a mural and a mosaic in this small public park to honor the history of the neighborhood and also try to bring back some life and reanimate these streets,” she says. “We’re going to be renovating the whole park; we’re going to be putting in chess tables and flower beds. We’re going to put in a little stage and steps coming down from one of the streets. It’s a pretty exciting project; it’s a really big, long-term project.”