Coffee County Children’s Advocacy Center has partnered with artist Troy Freeman, who will paint a mural on the Waite Street Bridge over the greenway near the Bark-Aroo Dog Park at the Manchester soccer fields. Freeman will work on the mural Aug. 27-29.
The Coffee County CAC invites the community to celebrate the artwork, which aims to raise awareness of child abuse, with a free event Aug. 28 at the soccer fields. Aug. 28 will be filled with activities for children and families. Free canvases will be provided for children to decorate, and the completed artworks will be exhibited at the Manchester Arts Center. Children who return completed canvases to the office of Coffee County CAC before Sept. 9 will receive goodie bags provided by KidsVille Playground.
On Aug. 28, vendors will offer arts and crafts and baked goods and food trucks will provide delicious food for purchase. Walk the greenway, chat with vendors, purchase some goods and meet Freeman, who will be painting the mural. Witness colors transforming the bridge into a meaningful and beautiful art piece. Coffee County Emergency Medical Services, Manchester Police Department and Manchester Fire and Rescue will display vehicles for children to explore during the event, as well.
Freeman has more than 20 years of experience. He has completed numerous projects across the country. One of the projects he is involved with in Tennessee is Everywhere You Look, UT mural project. The University of Tennessee launched the endeavor and plans to install a mural in every county of Tennessee. Freeman is looking forward to visiting Coffee County and using his talent to raise awareness of child abuse.
“Any time I can use my work to bring awareness to such a great cause, I am going to do everything I can to make that happen,” Freeman said. “If this mural helps even a single child, it will have been more than worth it. I look forward to talking with, meeting, and working with the kids and the community on this project and hope that it has a long lasting positive impact for everyone involved.”
Joyce Prusak, director of Coffee County CAC, said Freeman is “incredibly talented and his creativity will help protect children.”
“We are excited Troy will be part of this project, dubbed Join Our Quest to End Child Abuse,” Prusak said. “Troy has joined our quest, and we hope his talent encourages more people to join us and ensure every child has a happy and safe childhood.”
Schedule for Saturday, Aug. 28
8 a.m.-4 p.m. – Farmers market and craft vendors will offer arts and crafts and baked goods on the greenway. 321 Dogs will offer delicious food for purchase at the Manchester soccer field parking lot.
9-11 a.m. – Manchester Police Department, Manchester Fire and Rescue, Coffee County Emergency Medical Services set up trucks and cars in the parking lot for children to explore.
9-11 a.m. – Coffee County CAC booth will distribute information and art kits for children. Coffee County CAC is providing free canvases and markers for the first 200 children and asking them to return completed canvases to the Coffee County CAC’s office before Sept. 9. The artworks will be displayed at the Manchester Arts Center Sept. 10-11, and each child will receive a bag with goodies from KidsVille Playground. There will also be prizes for the top five, including free one-day passes for KidsVille Playground.
9-11 a.m. – United Way of Highway 55 members will be on hand to provide information about resources in the community.
11 a.m.-8 p.m. – El Oro Verde food truck will set up in Manchester soccer field parking lot, offering tasty Mexican street food.
3-6 p.m. – Ray Ray’s Smokehouse will set up in parking lot, offering BBQ.
This project is completed thanks to grants from the Tennessee Arts Commission and Manchester Tourism Committee.
Photo: Fayetteville mural by Troy Freeman