Athens artist David Hale painted the mural, titled Hope, to commemorate 25 years of the AthFest Music & Arts Festival. The mural, painted in 2020 features 24 swallows carrying branches towards a nest containing the 25th swallow.
Hale said, “Swallows are seen as symbols of Hope for a number of reasons but particularly because they signal the proximity of land for sailors crossing open ocean. This year’s AthFest was supposed to be the 24th year of a festival that is deeply rooted in our community and culture. Next year offers a strange consideration if AthFest would still represent its 25th Anniversary. These are moments when Hope will carry us through and help us build a nest together to perhaps support something truly Unknown. Hope is integral to our survival and I personally hope that this creation can be a beacon to help collectively remind ourselves that there is always a distant Shore, even if it is not always seen.”
AthFest Educates Executive Director Jill Helme said Hale came to her with a vision for a way to help the nonprofit during a year when its two main fundraisers, the AthFest Music & Arts Festival and the AthHalf Half Marathon & 5K, had been profoundly affected. It was also a way for Hale to share a creative gift with the community and to inspire hope in the community he loves so much.
Helme said, “David’s heart is so big and his talent so great, having him come to us to offer this is a dream come true. He is such a steadfast supporter of AthFest Educates and this community, and his paintings bring so much joy to so many. We’re so grateful to be a part of this community of creative people like David and generous people like the folks at Epiphany and the building owner, Corky Sams, who donated the wall space.”