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 Robeson County Arts Council received a grant to support the development of a local Lumberton SmART team, comprised of arts, government and community leaders.  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. 

The Lumberton SmART Resource Team envisioned an opportunity to help transform and enliven Lumberton’s historic downtown with a dynamic mural that celebrates the unique qualities of this special place. 

Robeson County Arts Council and City of Lumberton in partnership with the North Carolina Arts Council SmART Communities were 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 connecting 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. 

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 was 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.

Robeson County Arts Council