Midlands mural brings new meaning to “community”

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 7:52 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The neighboring City of West Columbia is just a short trip across the Congaree River.

It is a city with a story and WIS has captured along the walls of one of the area buildings.

After crossing the Congaree River Bridge from the capital city into West Columbia, a piece of the Midlands past has been preserved on the corner of Meeting and State Street.

A Nashville-based painter brought the story of the city’s past and present to life while finding a second home in the West Columbia community throughout the process.

The word “Brookland” against a colorful background plastered across the side of a commercial building could go unnoticed to the unsuspecting eye.

Artist Brian Tull wanted to respect what West Columbia was and is.

The area used to be called Brookland, South Carolina and then the name changed some years ago to West Columbia back in 1938.

Now, all these years later, what’s being called “The Brookland Project” is renewing the area while also staying true to its historic roots with a mural.

Tull has been working on his craft since 2007, and two years ago, project developer, Estates and Companies, asked him to take on the project.

” They wanted this historic imagery, like the mill houses, the millworkers, the church, what West Columbia was founded on,” said Tull.

Tull created plenty of large-scale pieces in his time, but the Brookland mural called for a higher demand and they really did mean ‘higher’.

”Mostly I’m a studio artist for private collections, like large-scale paintings, maybe 7 feet by 5 feet. Pretty large paintings, but not mural-sized,” said the painter.

What was initially estimated at around 700 dollars, later turned into 13 thousand dollars out of the artist’s pocket.

But 40 cans of spray paint later, he told WIS that seeing his work becoming a part of a tight-knit community makes it all worth it.

”You just share it. You know, the process is shared, every bit of it is shared with passers-by and the public. And then you just give it to the local area, it’s for everyone,” stated Tull.

From the State House to the Congaree Bridge, down to the State Street strip, the Brookland mural offers a nostalgic feel for those who’ve called the area home for years, and lets those like Brian in on what it is that makes West Columbia a place worth holding on to.

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