Parklets and Streateries in Downtown Morganton

The streEATERIES and Parklets in Downtown Morganton permitted by the COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Strategy, allowed businesses to expand outdoor spaces creating a framework for restaurants to operate further into the street during scheduled road closures. This project was able to boost food sales and retain businesses that may have otherwise closed indefinitely.  The City of Morganton’s Main Street Office's foresight to maximize outdoor space for businesses not only provided a safe area for customers but it also brought forth artistic endeavors for two local artists Jamie McGimsey and Brandon Lynn during the King Street streEATERY creation.

McGimsey, owner of downtown restaurant and bar Homer’s Soda Shop, studied Industrial Design, Historic Preservation and painting at The Savannah College of Art and Design. The McGimsey’s have deep family roots in Morganton, Grandfather James Frank McGimsey, owned Morganton Hardware, acquired in the 1920’s.  Previous owner of M.A.D., Morganton Art & Design, McGimsey’s said his drive upon returning to Morganton in 2009 was, “I wanted to see more diverse public art in Morganton. I saw lots of open canvases on buildings around town that I hoped business owners would provide artists with the opportunity to create art on their spaces. Public art is a great look for a city.” McGimsey was invited to paint a mural in the strEATERY, and he chose to recreate a radical yet ingenious design called Dazzle Camouflage, also known as razzle dazzle. This original concept and design was created by a Royal Navy Volunteer reserve lieutenant and artist, Norman Wilkinson, and used to camouflage ships during World War I. The idea was that the wild patterns would make it more difficult to determine the ship’s size, shape, speed and direction. “I’ve always been a huge fan of the Razzle Dazzle, as a series, and it is a platform that I’ve wanted to play with for ten years. The three dimensionality of the cement blocks and road scene, seemed like the best time to bring it to life. This inspired me to bring the same concept to the walls of Homers, a work still in progress.”

The StreATERY located on King Street also contains a neon color hopscotch mural by artist Brandon Lynn. Lynn, a Morganton native, is also the creator of the mural on the side of Oak Hill Iron + Wood. His piece, painted directly in the southbound lane of the street, is meant to evoke happiness and the joy of childhood and help people connect with their inner child. Lynn said that the work represents “becoming a child.” His mural, made up of bright vibrant colors, has hidden letters within a white line that flows throughout the piece — a “C,” “C” and “T” — which are the initials of his daughters, Cadence and Caitlin, and his wife Tiffany. This line contains a heart shape and flows to another portion that resembles an EKG line. Brandon said “It’s the heartbeat of Morganton, and my family is my heartbeat.” He never received any formal art training and, by day, Lynn works in nuclear medicine at Frye Regional Medical Center, but said that art is his passion. He loves his patients and nuclear medicine, but art is what he wants he wants to do for the rest of his life.

The City of Morganton invites you to come to the strEATERY  to enjoy delicious flavors of the neighboring restaurants and bask in the ambiance that is heightened by the creations of these two local artists.  

Jamie McGimsey, pictured above, created the "Razzle Dazzle" camoflauge mural on various parts of the North King Street Streatery in Downtown Morganton. The design is modeled after a camoflauge pattern that was painted on Royal Navy ships in World War I.

Brandon Lynn, pictured above in this photograph by the Morganton News-Herald, is a Morganton native, and painted the neon mural in the southbound lane of North King Street. His design represents "becoming a child."

Shown above is a detail shot of the "razzle dazzle" pattern painted on part of the North King Street streatery by Jamie McGimsey.

McGimsey is painting the walls of Homer's Soda Shop, a business in Downtown Morganton that he owns, with the same "razzle dazzle" pattern he painted in the streatery on North King Street.

Brandon Lynn's mural, shown above, has hidden letters within a white line that flows throughout the piece: a “C,” “C” and “T” — which are the initials of his daughters, Cadence and Caitlin, and his wife Tiffany.