AMT @ West Jefferson, NC

"Mary Great with Child" Featured Fresco
St. Mary's Episcopal Church
West Jefferson, NC

Exit BR Parkway MilePost: 259
  Featured Muralist: Benjamin F. Long IV
Trail Member/Sponsor: Episcopal Parish of the Holy Communion

Mural Descriptions

    Featured Fresco - Mary Great with Child   The true fresco, Mary Great with Child, is housed in St. Mary's Episcopal Church in West Jefferson, NC. The church is located at 400 Beaver Creek School Rd and open 24/7 with an audio recording, available to visitors, gives information about the church and frescoes. Information is also available on the parish website; and on the facebook site; the parish of the holy communion the churches of the frescoes.

     The fresco depicts Mary, who has heard the voice of an angel telling her that she will bear a child who would be holy and would be called the Son of God. Now, as the time for birthing approaches, she raises her hand to say, "My heart sings out 'the Lord is Great' and my spirit is happy in God my deliverer". Over her head, hangs an eclipse of the sun, thought in the time of Christ, to be an omen of something enormously important about to happen: something that would change the world.

     Mary Great with Child was painted in 1974. Ben Long was awarded the prestigious Leonardo da Vinci International Art Award in 1976 for this portrayal of Mary. The now well-known artist, Bo Bartlett, who was 19 at the time, assisted in the painting.
    Muralist: Benjamin F. Long

    Fresco Mention#1 - John the Baptist   John the Baptist, painted in 1976 was his second fresco. Mr. Long's image of John, standing on the bank of the River Jordan, is the fierce, wild man of the desert, draped in a hairy hide and wielding a big stick. John's eyes have the strange fire of one who has been a long time in the sun, eating bugs, and seeing things that most of us cannot see. His voice thunders prophecy: "Turn around! Turn your life, your hearts around! Yes, I wash you with the water for repentance, but HE is coming! So mighty that I'm not fit to carry his sandals! HE will cleanse you with the Holy Spirit and with fire! Get ready! Make his paths straight!"
    Muralist: Benjamin F. Long

    Fresco Mention#2 - Mystery of Faith   The Mystery of Faith, the third fresco, which fills the wall behind the altar, is a striking crucifixion/resurrection scene. In the foreground, hangs the crucified Jesus in stark, three-dimensional realism. Rising above and behind the crucified "King of the Jews" is "Christ the King" as a spiritual presence amid a background of clouds. Mr. Long painted the risen Christ as transcending any identifiable race or nationality.
    Muralist: Benjamin F. Long

John the Baptist Fresco Mention #1

The Mystery of Faith Fresco Mention #2  

Featured Artist Bio: Benjamin F. Long IV

     Benjamin F. Long IV was born in Victoria, TX in 1945 where his father, a fighter pilot in WW II, was stationed. His mother returned to their home in NC while Ben was still a baby. Reared in a family of artists, writers, professors, and university presidents, Long was as precocious in his artistic ability as he was eager to apply it. At 18, Long followed his father's footsteps to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in Creative Writing under the guidance of his friend and advisor Reynolds Price. Upon completing his University coursework and at the insistence of his advisor, Long moved to New York to immerse himself in the study of fine art.

     In NYC, Long became a member of the Art Students League of New York, studying under the guidance of such notable artists as Robert Beverly Hale and Frank Mason. Then, in 1969, Long preempted the draft by enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served just over two tours of duty in Vietnam as a Marine Corps Combat Officer; during his last tour he served as Commander of the Combat Art Team, and much of his work from that period is now on display at the United Stated Marine Corps Museum.

     Upon leaving Vietnam, Long traveled to Florence, Italy, to apprentice himself to internationally renowned Maestro Pietro Annigoni, with whom he learned the art of True Fresco. Long committed himself to Annigoni for almost nine years. His apprenticeship culminated in 1976, when he was awarded the prestigious Leonardo da Vinci International Art Award for his first fresco in the U.S. St. Mary Great With Child. This painting was followed by three other frescoes. All four of these frescoes were created in two Episcopal churches in Ashe County, NC.

     In 1984, Long moved to France where, for the next 14 years, he split time between Paris and the Gard region of Provence. By that time, Long had completed several frescoes in Italy, including a joint fresco with Annigoni and the only work by a non-Italian at the Abbey of Montecassino. These works set the stage for 15 major fresco projects in the U.S. including a dome and the largest secular fresco in the United States.

    In addition to his prolific fresco work, Long has had works in the Royal Academy as well as the Royal Portrait Society (London, UK). He has exhibited in Florence, London, Paris, Atlanta, San Francisco, New York, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and is represented in major collections throughout Europe and the Americas. He has lived and worked in Europe for over thirty years and now divides his time between Europe and the United States. He currently lives mainly in Asheville, NC where he has two art studios and an art school.

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     AMT @ West Jefferson, NC

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     AMT @ West Jefferson, NC


    comment by: Gloria
Love, love, love ❤ all the art we saw and experienced while in Asheville!!Laura

    comment by: Lois
Brilliant way to allow visitors to enjoy the sites and sounds that Asheville has to offer.

    comment by: Rebecca&Susan
We just loved all of the murals in Asheville! Asheville is a fun vibrant interesting town!

    comment by: Catherine Wilson
    (Asheville, NC)

As a member of Carolina Street Mural group, I learned about The Appalachian Mural Trail! After reviewing your web page. I planned my road trips to locate the trail murals, reflect on them and photograph memories of my trip!

    comment by: Tammy Compton
    (Fort Myers, Florida)

Love it! We went looking to take selfies with 3 and found over 20 murals!

    comment by: Angie Trapp
    (Concord, NC)

Beautiful mural in Sparta, one of my favorite places! 😊❤️

    comment by: Debra
    (Falls Church City, VA)

Thanks for letting me know! What a great project!
It added cool stops to my visit and I love seeing art and the artist was around that day to meet.

    comment by: Cristy (Mountain City, TN)
We have been getting much more traffic around our murals, and a lot of it is due to the publicity from your organization!
Thank you!
We will unveil our newest (and largest) mural on September 4th.

    comment by: Cindy Hedrick Day
It's beautiful! Thank you!!!!
Awesome! You made my day! Love love love it!.
I saw the email re the Mural Trail special in process of being made. Can't wait to see it. We are working to finish our projects, exhibit changes, etc. Who knew it would take so long! But, it's soon finished!!!
Looking forward to seeing this!
Thank you again!!!

    comment by: Marcie Toomey
This is our second visit to Holy Trinity.. we always leave blessed and humbled ❤️

    comment by: Chelsea
Thank you so much for the quick response! I received my shirt and thoroughly enjoyed the trail! Thank you for all of the hard work put into this project!

    comment by: Debbie Dillion
Just came across your website and it is great! I plan to look for these murals in my travels. A phone app would be awesome.

    comment by: Carol
Lincolnton, NC, is loaded with murals! And I love them all!

    comment by: Barry & Cindy Beaulieu
we got to see the Fresco in W. Jefferson NC and is amazing ... we were on our two wheeler the Voyager... nature declares there is a God... everywhere you look... thanking ya'll so very very much...

    comment by: Vickie Sealock
    (Welcome Center Manager)

I love what you folks are doing. Several years ago we went to Exeter California to see their Mural trail. We spent hours in this little town looking at the murals and trying to find the hidden objects in each. We talked with the towns people, had lunch, shopped in the shops. I love the mural trails, and yours is going to be one of the best. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

    comment by: Liz
Art is everywhere in Asheville! This gorgeous mural of Dolly Parton by Gus Cutty is the newest mural you'll see in town. Gus created the mural with spray paint in 3 days. See it for yourself at Beauty Parade on Haywood Rd in West Asheville.

    comment by: Karen
Roanoke murals are awesome to see... love the mural with girl floating in air... the poetry one was neat!

    comment by: Big Tom
This is great mural art, will be remembered a long time...

    comment by: Bob
This is very expansive mural, covers many walls inside the cradle building. Beautiful art mural, a must see!

    comment by: Dolly
Love the big murals!!!

    comment by: Lisa Patten
I love the mural trail. It's like seeing a gift at Christmas!

    comment by: Ann Barbare
Beautiful mural of Maggie Valley

    comment by: Jennifer
Love your mural artwork! The local references, the depiction of marvelous, beautiful, and colorful nature - landscapes, birds, animals, butterflies, and glorious flowers - invites close study and is very engaging!

    comment by: Carol
Looks like progress being made! Can't wait to see the mural at Joeys.

    comment by: anonymous
Can't wait to see this beautiful mural art in person at Joey's Pancake House

    comment by: Amy
I love your little sneak-a-peek view. Need more...

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     AMT @ West Jefferson, NC

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