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This edition is sponsored by Current Wellness.

📸: Jeremy Clark and muralist Scott Nurkin (The Mural Shop).

The story of Raleigh's John Prine mural

Musician John Prine was a prolific songwriter who died earlier this week of complications with COVID-19. Even if you don't know his songs, which span decades, you'll know the musicians who he influenced, such as Kacey Musgraves, Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires and Miranda Lambert. 

Even though John Prine lived in Nashville, Raleigh has a mural on East Martin street, next to the GoRaleigh Station between Beasley's and Moore Square. Raleigh Convergence asked Jedidiah Gant, of the Raleigh Murals Project, about the story behind the mural.
RC: How did the project come together, and why was Raleigh chosen as a site for the mural?
JG: Back in late 2018, we received an email from Oh Boy Records (John Prine's label) asking us if we could help get a mural of John on the walls of Downtown Raleigh.

Outside of Nashville (he lived there when he did), they informed us that the Triangle had one of the largest Prine fan bases in the nation (Chicago being another - he was from Maywood, Illinois a suburb of Chicago). Their goal was to get murals in each of these cities as marketing for John's latest album which they were entering for the consideration in the Grammys. (It ended up being nominated for Best American Album and several other Grammy awards) There was no way we could turn down an offer to help a folk legend like Prine.
RC: I’ve read in your post that it was originally meant to be temporary. Why did it stick around?
JG: The mural was supposed to only stay for a few months as the building was planned to be renovated. In early 2019. After it was finished, we were told that "John just loves it! Wants to see if we can convince them to not renovate the building! It’s better than we could have imagined, thank you guys so much for putting this together, we love it!".

He wanted it to stay and so did we, but we were told there was no way it would stay longer than 6 months. Plans for the building’s renovation fail through and a year and a half later, the building is still in the same condition and John is still playing his guitar on side of this East Martin Street wall. It was fate that it stayed this long.

I recently spoke with the building owner after John’s death, telling him thank you again for allowing us to use the wall. He replied, “I hope it stays there for many moons to come.”

📸: Jeremy Clark and muralist Scott Nurkin (The Mural Shop).
RC: What does this project mean to you? How is it different (or the same) from other murals you’ve worked on?
JG: A friend of mine, Jeremy Clark was the one that put the connection with Oh Boy in place. Jeremy was a big Prine fan. I was a fan, but hadn’t listened much over the past few albums. I knew some early work, but not a lot since.

The muralist, Scott Nurkin, is also a musician that respected Prine so there were a lot of folks who really loved him working to make it happen. As well, we had other friends and even former Mayor Nancy McFarlane that were huge fans of Prine, so we knew that we were putting up a piece of art of a legend in a city where a lot of people loved his music.

I’m a big fan of music and so it means a lot to me to be able to do this project in the same year that we also completed the Morgan Monsters of Jazz mural on Trophy that honors Hip Hop, Jazz and Rap musicians from NC.

There’s a lot of musical history and love in NC (and Raleigh) and these two murals help start what I believe should be a long history of musical art in our city and state.

And finally, this mural gave me much more respect for Prine’s music. His latest album has one of my favorite songs, "Summer’s End,” of the past few years. I tear up every time I hear it and listened to it on repeat for a long time the night he died. Such a talent. Sad to see him go, but glad Raleigh become a part of John’s journey. 
Message from Current Wellness:

Current Wellness is a wellness center for mind, body, and community opening in Downtown Raleigh later this summer. While they aren’t quite open yet, they have launched their Virtual Movement Studio and provide high-energy group fitness classes online! 
In times of stress, it’s important to stay active, but also to adjust your fitness routine to the energy you have available.
The Current’s signature class, Tidal Movement, is designed so that you choose your own difficulty level. The class strengthens your core and increases mobility through body-weight intervals (so you don’t need any equipment). 
Use the code RALCONVERGENCE for a free class!

Book your class here
Here’s what’s happening now:

You’ll see more precautions at places still open for shopping, like grocery stores, after Governor Roy Cooper’s executive order shared on Thursday.

Shops will only be allowed 20% of their capacity (per the fire code) or 5 people for every 1,000 square feet. This will go into effect at 5 p.m. Monday. [read more]

➡️ Updated a few times per day: [how to get help + more what's happening now]

➡️ Updated regularly: [how to help]
Considering submitting a story pitch?

Sunday is the deadline to share your true, first-person story pitch for May's Converging Stories virtual event.

Still on the fence? Here's what to know: 

1: Your pitch doesn't have to be perfect.

This is a coached storytelling series! The 100-word pitch is just to get an idea of what type of story you'd like to tell. 

2: You don't need certain credentials, or any public speaking experience. 

The spirit of this storytelling series is to build empathy through all kinds of stories around a singular theme. That means we need lots of different types of people's experiences!

3: 'What If?' can be interpreted in many ways.

We're not (just) talking about life in the current reality.

What if... you'd made a different choice that ended up transforming your life? What if... you swiped left? What if... you'd taken another job, moved somewhere else, didn't raise your hand? 

If you live, work or are a part of the Raleigh + Wake County community, you're eligible to submit a story pitch for consideration! The story pitches should be true, first-person stories for insight around the theme of 'What If?' 

Story pitches are due by end of day Sunday and should be emailed to 

Did you know that Cary turned 149 years old in April?

New Neighbor Project Cary Ambassador Maggie Mae Whittemore shares the history of the town in the Cary emailed guides: 

The Nancy Jones House (pictured above) originally sat on a 2,000-acre estate owned by Henry Jones and Nancy Ann Jones.⁣⁣⁣
After being completed in 1803, Henry and Nancy used their home as a stagecoach stop and tavern for those traveling between Raleigh and Chapel Hill. ...⁣⁣⁣
It was a landmark on the route between the two cities and saw many important visitors including Former President James K. Polk, Former Governor William Alexander Graham, and Union general William T. Sherman and his troops camped on the land in April 1865.⁣⁣⁣
The Nancy Jones House is not currently open to the public, but the Town of Cary did purchase the historic home last May and are in the process of getting the house ready to move to a new location and to start the preservation process so that the town can enjoy the history for many years to come.

If you're new to Cary, make sure to sign up for The New Neighbor Project emailed guides! [get the guides for free]
PS: The New Neighbor Project also has guides for Knightdale, Southeast Raleigh and Raleigh at large. ⁣⁣⁣

Tech digital publication GrepBeat is hosting a virtual event with three Triangle-area VCs on how the pandemic is affecting their portfolios -- and what startups looking for investment should know. Catch it at 9 a.m. today, the first in a series of Coffee & Conversation webinars from GrepBeat. [register]

Podcast Raleigh is back with an interview with Gina Stephens, the publisher and founder of Raleigh Magazine [listen]

Artist Lisa Gaither created a chalk mural for healthcare workers at Duke Raleigh Hospital:

Thanks for reading this edition of the Raleigh Convergence!


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