Angels in Oneonta



Wanting to add even more beauty to this great county, the Oneonta Business Association teamed up with artist Tara Murphree (pictured above) to put an angel wing mural in motion. Located on Railroad Boulevard, and adjacent to the city’s gazebo and the utilities board, Murphree has spent more than 40 volunteer hours to make this concept a reality.

While the idea of utilizing that vacant lot as a stage area has been tossed around for a couple of years, a recent brainstorming session produced the idea of creating an angel wing mural on the building just behind the lot. The OBA chose to adopt this project as a means of boosting tourism and promoting community.

Once owner Tom Malone granted permission, the concept was put on fasttrack in an attempt to have it completed for the Festival of Lights event on Thursday, Nov. 29.

Murphree, with the support of her husband Clay, began this artistic adventure the first weekend in November. She said, “I was honored and excited to get a chance to complete this project. I have never done anything as large-scale as this.”

Priming, pressure washing, and painting the wall had to be completed before the mural could begin to take shape. The next step was to project the image onto the wall for Murphree to sketch an outline of the design. The OBA chose to use a projection image to maintain proper perspective and symmetry.

The OBA chose traditional white angel wings for the mural. It not only will add beauty to the city, it will provide a photo-op for those visiting. As Murphree was beginning to put some final touches on the wings earlier this week, there were many people who stopped by to see this beautiful creation and to take pictures.

Murphree said the concept of the angel wings mural began in 2012 when Los Angeles artist Colette Miller created the Angel Wings Project to remind humanity that we are the angels of this Earth. The angel wings are human-sized and interactive public art, wings that people take photos with and thus become part of the artwork. She said there are murals all over the country and world because of the Angel Wings Project.

Murphree has also begun creating a mural of children’s angel wings on the same wall. If the weather cooperates, she also intends to have that portion completed by Thursday night as well.

OBA secretary Patti Williams said the organization hopes to be able to put a permanent spotlight on the mural, as well as gain permission from Malone to shore up some uneven terrain on the concrete pad. At the present time, there is a metal sign in place that advises visitors to “use at your own risk.” The area is under 24-hour surveillance.

Individuals are invited to take photographs and post them on social media. When posting photos, please use the hashtags #angelsinOneonta, #shoponeontafirst, #oneontabusinessassociation, and #taramurphreeart.

For the Festival of Lights event, Wallace State Singers will use the front portion of the concrete pad as a performance stage. SwampTails will be furnishing temporary lighting and Analog on Third will supply the sound equipment manned by Appalachian High School drum major Briar Fowler.

Williams noted that the Festival of Lights is the kickoff for many downtown events during the upcoming Christmas season. She encourages everyone to look at the ad in this week’s paper (page A8) for a full list of the events.

For those who want to further support the OBA, a fundraiser is currently in progress. Denim blue colored T-shirts with the angel wing mural on the front can be ordered by visiting For more information, please contact Williams at 446-0462.