September 26, 2022
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Hundreds paint mural to honor Florence business leader

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FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — More than 200 people headed to downtown Florence on Saturday to help paint a massive mural honoring a local business leader.

“The piece is very large,” Hannah Davis, Florence’s development manager said. “It’s going to be 25-feet tall and 40-feet wide, and will go up on the side of the Thompson Barber College building.”

Davis said the idea for the project came from Will Thompson, the owner of Thompson Barber Shop and College, who wanted to honor his father, Rev. W.L. Thompson.

“It was just a dream come true for the Thompson family to be able to see our dad, who has done so much, be recognized, and for the city to make such a big effort to do so,” Thompson said.

The block of Dargan Street where the mural will stand was named after Rev. Thompson in 2016.

Mayor Teresa Myers Ervin helped paint sections of the mural and said it will recognize his contributions to the city, which include founding the barber college.

“He has influenced a lot of lives and a lot of young people who now own their own barber shops,” Myers Ervin said. “He is a spiritual promoter, but also promotes economic development. He is very important to our community.”

Lake City artist Herman Keith directed the volunteers. He said the mural will be made up of five-foot by five-foot squares and will resemble a quilt once it is assembled.

“I use the quilt to try and tell the story of the area, and Rev. Thompson is a part of that story for this particular area,” he said.

Davis said the mural will be installed in September and that she is looking forward to bringing the community art project to the city’s historic African American business district.

“This project is really a celebration and a metaphorical and physical crossing of the railroad tracks,” Davis said. “We couldn’t be more excited.”



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