‘A really great honor’

Local artist’s work on display in Selma

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Left to right are artist Bethany Kerr, Terry Chestnut and National Park Service Park Ranger Trini Moye. (David Lee Brown)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman native and artist Bethany Kerr’s talents can be seen in and around Cullman, and now a special portrait she created can be seen at the Selma Interpretive Center. The portrait, done in pencil, of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was originally a gift to Terry Chestnut, son of Selma’s first African American attorney J.L. Chestnut, but he felt the portrait deserved a home where it could be enjoyed by others.

The idea to draw the portrait began after Kerr’s boyfriend, David Lee Brown, delivered a couple of doghouses to Selma.

“I have a boyfriend who builds doghouses, and he was delivering two doghouses to Selma and the guy he was selling it to was Terry Chestnut,” said Kerr. “He’s a radio show host and tour guide. We went on a tour with him and we got to know him a little bit. I drew a picture of his dog, and then I thought, you know, I’m going to draw a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and give it to him as a gift.”

She drew the portrait around the time of King’s birthday. The portrait was done entirely with a mechanical pencil. When she presented Chestnut with the gift, he loved it.

Said Kerr, “He loved it so much that he thought it would be really good to present it to the Selma Interpretive Center.”

The Selma Interpretive Center is a welcome center at the foot of the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge at the beginning of the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail. Kerr and Chestnut presented the portrait of King to National Park Service Park Ranger Trini Moye. The portrait will hang in the center.

Kerr said, “It’s really cool and a really great honor. That’s the bridge where Martin Luther King and others marched.”

Kerr, also a muralist, is now regularly painting at Leigh Acres event venue in New Market, Alabama. She has also illustrated eight books to date. Several murals in Cullman were painted by Kerr including the Cullman Electric mural across from Traditions Bank and the Welcome to Cullman mural on the Newman’s Cleaners building. She also restored the Jazz Feeds and Cullman Banana Supply paintings.

Find Kerr’s art on Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/BethanyKerrFineArt or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bethanykerrfineart. For more information on Brown’s dog houses, check out www.bargainbarnsalabama.com.

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com