Visitors to the Lincoln Days events this weekend likely took note of the new multicolor mural downtown, which is based on a classic 1863 portrait by Alexander Gardner.
The stylized depiction of Abraham Lincoln in his hometown is the latest addition to a local trend of wall-size illustrations.
The artworks include decorative signage such as the cabooses parked in Vine Grove and West Point or the Haycraft District greeting visible from East Dixie Avenue in Elizabethtown on The Garage meeting center.
Another in downtown Elizabethtown is a historic recreation depicting a black-and-white advertisement for a long-ago mill in Cecilia.
Since the 1970s, the eastern facing wall of the former Western Auto building across from the Justice Center has been covered by a sequence of three illustrations. The building’s current occupant, an insurance agency, commissioned a modern work when the entire structure was repainted.
It faces the former Cobbler’s Cafe, which the city now owns. Soon it will provide office space for the Heritage Council and another mural is being discussed for that structure.
And inside Elizabethtown’s tourism office is a detailed 40-foot work by artist Courtney Ballard which depicts local landmarks ranging from the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame to the historic Brown-Pusey House.
This recent art trend generally has been welcomed. It provides a touch of uniqueness and appreciation in the communities.
As with any trend, it perhaps will reach its apex. Hopefully, it will avoid over saturation.
We’re reminded on the ancient quote from Hippocrates, the Greek scientist best known for the medical oath still used today. He also famously said, “Everything in excess is opposed to nature.”
Eventually, this trend will run afoul of some municipal sign ordinance and become a matter of controversy. Certainly, art has its self-appointed critics too and its likely that debates over a mural’s quality, visual value or content will become an issue of debate.
It’s nice to see a few skilled artists offered public opportunities to display their skills and offer a lasting impact on their community. But please remember that the impact is enhanced by its novelty. This definitely is a case of less being more.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.