Magic City Mural Collective

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The Woodlawn mural

The Magic City Mural Collective was a group of artists that worked with community groups and property owners to create outdoor painted murals in Birmingham. The group was founded in October 2013 by Doug Balous, Merrilee Challiss and Bo Hughins and its first installation was the "It's Nice to Have You in Birmingham" mural in downtown Woodlawn, commissioned by REV Birmingham. The group's goals included a plan "to connect the 99 neighborhoods of Birmingham through public art".

Others who joined later included Brandon Watkins, Paul Cordes Wilm, Creighton Tynes, and Scotty Lee. The collective's largest completed work, a 120-foot long "It's Nice to Have You in Birmingham" on the roof of Trim Tab Brewing Company, was supported in part by donations solicited through Kickstarter. The artists in the collective also put together a group show of their work which was exhibited at Bottletree Cafe in 2014.

In March 2015 the group raised money through UAB's crowdfunding site to support a project to collaborate with the UAB Deptartment of Mechanical Engineering to design and build a computer-controlled painting apparatus called the "R2 Paintbot"

The collective was inactive through much of 2015, in part due to Tynes' interest in running the organization as a business, and also over disagreement regarding Watkins' attempt to trademark the phrase "It's Nice to Have You in Birmingham" for his business, Yellowhammer Creative.

After a lengthy period of disagreement, the organization was dissolved by a vote of its three board members on February 10, 2017, with two board members voting in favor of dissolution and one abstaining. After unanimous agreement, remaining assets were disbursed by the acting treasurer to support projects of the Magic City Wellness Center, Birmingham AIDS Outreach, Phillips Academy, and The Color Project Ensley.


Among the collective's unrealized projects are a new mural over the fading TALS mural on U.S. Highway 280 in Mountain Brook, a mural for the Birmingham Barons on Norfolk Southern Railroad's retaining wall facing Railroad Park, and Challis' dream for a 10-story mural somewhere in the city depicting Birmingham-born jazz legend Sun Ra.

See also


  • Markham, Madoline (January 29, 2014) "Mural project under discussion for 280." Village Living
  • Buchanan, Charles (July 17, 2014) "Local Color: A mural collective aims to give the city a fresh look." Birmingham magazine