By Josie Shaw
The City of Montevallo’s expansion in tourism will now be carried out in local parks.
During August’s monthly Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, it was announced that a new accessible trail loop will be coming to Shoal Creek. In addition, Perry Hall will see refurbishments to eventually host events like weddings, reunions and more.
The Shoal Creek Park Foundation is asking for $500,000 in donations and grant money for the renovations. The City of Montevallo currently owns the park due to Betty Mahler donating the 167-acre land in 2013.
Since the donation, the park has seen many renovations including new chimney swift towers, informational kiosks and a cemetery. The Shoal Creek Baptist Church Cemetery was just recently added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Alongside these announcements, University of Montevallo Art Professor Amy Feger unveiled “The Mahler Place.” This is a new Shoal Creek inspired painting gallery in which she collaborated with former UM professor Gaby Wolodarski.
Feger describes the exhibition as originally a practice of plein air painting, which is the act of painting outdoors and using nature as a still life.
“Five years later, we accumulated a lot of images, and all together the images capture history, time, and change over time,” said Feger.
Many of the paintings include landscapes of Shoal Creek that are contrasted with other paintings of parking lots and industrial pictures. Feger’s work asks viewers to consider the give and take between nature and humanity and contemplate what kind of impact they are leaving on the earth.
“This is really amazing how much this little farm has become a part of art and culture locally… it could have been sold through an estate, and turned into R2 residentials, commercial development, or a factory.” says Feger.
The city hopes for these changes to welcome in tourists and newcomers to the area. This trend can also be seen with the upcoming mountain bike trails replacing the old Montevallo golf course.
Feger and Wolodarski’s exhibition will be open at Parnell Memorial Library until its closing reception on Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. You can find more of Feger’s work at www.amyfeger.com.