Native American heritage mural nearly finished in Harrison, Ark.

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 5:40 PM CDT
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - The Harrison Visitors Bureau and Explore Harrison have announced a new mural in downtown commemorating the Native American heritage in north Arkansas.

You can see the mural outside the Sam Alexander HealthMart Pharmacy at the corner of North Main Street and East Rush Avenue. The mural reads: “We are standing on ancestral ground.” It pays tribute to the Osage Nation of Arkansas and the Trail of Tears which ran right through Harrison.

Ruben Drewery is an Arkansan who descends from both Cherokee and Apache natives. So when the city came to him with the idea of a mural commemorating Native American history, he was all in.

”Well it kind of touched base with my heritage, I’m very very honored,” said Drewery. “Anybody that’s native American has some in their ancestry can be proud.”

Drewery has done several murals in Harrison alone. While most cities have them, for one the size of Harrison, they have quite a few. A majority of the murals have been ideas from students as part of the Education Advanced through Service and Technology program at Harrison Schools.

”We’ve probably got about a dozen murals completed in the community,” said Matt Bell, of Explore Harrison.

Some are just fun, like the peace and fitness murals, but several of them depict nature and the history of the Harrison area.

”The focus has been Natural State, Natural Art. We really wanted to showcase the history of our area, the heritage of our area, and spotlight some of the great things to have come to the area,” Bell explained.

And the latest does just that, the finished product will include a tribute to the Osage Nation of North Arkansas, and The Trail of Tears.

”The inspiration I got just from traveling the Trail of Tears,” said Drewery. “You know, a lot of people don’t know that it actually came right through Harrison.”

Perhaps just as interesting as the history, is how the mural is being completed.

”It doesn’t take me long, I don’t use projectors, I don’t use patterns, it’s all freehand,” said Drewery. “So, it’s not only going to be pretty to look at, it’s pretty educational.“

”I think it shows that our community takes pride in art,” said Bell. “It’s a big deal for our community, bringing the artists into town to do these murals and a town our size to have as many as we have.”

The Explore Harrison Mural Tour can be seen HERE.

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