Fort Mill Times

#gratitudegardenstories: Fort Mill mural intended to be interactive

Artist Caroline Simas works on her mural on the Crossings on Main building.
Artist Caroline Simas works on her mural on the Crossings on Main building. LESLIEHPHOTOHGRAPHY2014

Artist and Fort Mill native Caroline Simas is bringing some color to a side of the boutique shop Crossings on Main, in the form of a mural encouraging participation and expression.

Simas, now of Charlotte, said she hopes the public will come to the mural to celebrate victories, both large and small, and share them on social media with selfies using the hashtag gratitudegardenstories. Reaching beyond Fort Mill, Simas hopes to see a gratitude street art movement nationwide.

“I love the idea of public interactive art and social media intersecting and becoming a way for the world to share and spread gratitude,” Simas said.

“We want people to share their stories, and it may just be as simple as ‘I’m thankful for the nice weather today,’” or something more serious, such as beating cancer, Simas said.

Simas licenses her brand, Multiple Blessings by Carolina Simas, for worldwide distribution. Her work is characterized by colorful faith-based art which often features flowers, butterflies and birds. Simas drew on these ideas as inspiration for the mural.

“I feel really strongly about connecting my faith with the art,” Simas said.

An outdoor mural has long been on Simas’ bucket list. Her work is already represented and sold in the Crossings on Main store. Simas approached owner Cathie Smith – the two are long-time family friends – and she was enthusiastic about the idea.

“(Caroline) has such a giving heart,” Smith said. “What she stands for is a lot of what we stand for.”

Crossings on Main, at 102 Academy St., held an open house May 30 to celebrate the one-year anniversary of their remodeling and reopening.

“Clearly with Main Street, you’re not going to be able to miss this,” Simas said. “I can’t wait to hear the stories shared and truly think it will be a special place.”

“We’re all about anything that builds up this town and this area,” Smith said.