Robeson County Arts Council

SmART Initiative


Lumberton is one of eight cities in the North Carolina Arts Council’s SmART Communities program which demonstrates how the arts transform downtowns and fuel sustainable economic development. The Lumberton County Arts Council received a grant to support the development of a local Lumberton SmART team, comprised of arts, government and community leaders, who have participated in SmART 101 training.  SmART 101 provides information on arts-driven economic development, public art standards of practice including the RFQ process in selecting artists and implementing projects, community engagement and feedback process, creating an arts assets inventory, and identifying goals for the project and potential funding sources.  Lumberton’s first SmART project will be to hire an artist or artist team to create a mural on a prominent building wall located between N. Elm and Chestnut streets in downtown Lumberton.

The Lumberton SmART Resource Team envisions an opportunity to help transform and enliven Lumberton’s historic downtown with a dynamic mural that celebrates the unique qualities of this special place.  The City of Lumberton has a commitment to creating high-quality downtown and to building a stronger community through preservation-based economic development.  The Rediscover Downtown Lumberton organization has a desire to give locals and visitors to the area a place to come together and celebrate good company, good food, quality entertainment, a beautiful streetscape and a chance for community involvement.  Robeson County Arts Council seeks to ensure a vibrant and diverse community that values cultural preservation, individual creativity and economic development that contributes to the well-being of the community through lifelong learning and enrichment through the arts. 

Robeson County Arts Council and City of Lumberton in partnership with the North Carolina Arts Council SmART Communities are pleased to announce Lumberton’s 1st outdoor mural by artist Scott Nurkin.  The mural wall is adjacent the new pedestrian alleyway between 3rd and 4th Street and N. Elm Street that connect to the newly designed plaza.  The location is great for vibrant art that represents elements of the Rediscover Downton Lumberton campaign.  The wall is approximately 2,820 square feet. 

Scott will be working daylight hours and he welcomes visitors to watch his process and ask questions!

Mural Painting Schedule:
Start 1st week of July - begin drawing out the design on the wall
July 8th – 12th  Begin filling in details of the mural.  
July 13 – 21st   Break  
July 22 - until finished.

The goals of this mural project are:
To activate and enhance the cultural connectivity and economic vitality in downtown Lumberton through engaging artwork and creative placemaking.
To honor the city’s history, natural beauty, and cultural heritage.
To add to the collection of public art.
To deter graffiti.
To provide opportunity for community engagement and ownership

Artists were invited to apply for the project through a professional Request for proposals on a regional level.  Preference as given to North Carolina and local/regional artists that have prior experience in in the creation of public art and mural and large-scale artworks. 

A selection panel consisting of public art experts and community members viewed and rated each of the submissions, and three artists were chosen to submit proposals for further consideration.

Resource Links

SmART Initiative | North Carolina Arts Council
Communities that use their distinctive arts and cultural assets to revitalize neighborhoods and downtowns, instill a strong sense of place and pride in residents, attract creative workers and cultural visitors, and create sustainable economic development...

SmART Initiative Background | North Carolina Arts Council

The North Carolina Arts Council’s SmART Initiative is a catalyst for arts-driven economic development projects across the state...

SmART Towns and Cities

North Carolina Arts Council
Overview of organization plus arts directory, news and information on grants and services.