A new coat of paint

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Spruce Pine’s Serviceberry Tree restored

  • Chad Vance
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Chad Vance from Boone Paint and Powdercoating works on re-installing the Serviceberry Tree Friday, March 27, on Oak Avenue in Spruce Pine. (Submitted)

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SPRUCE PINE – Spruce Pine’s beloved Serviceberry Tree, which surrounds the town clock with its year-round clouds of white flowers, was reinstalled Friday, March 27, after months of work to restore its painted finish. 

The tree was created in 2008 by local blacksmith Elizabeth Brim, with engineering by Jeff McDowell and help from a host of artists, metalworkers and volunteers in the community. Over the winter, faded paint and rust were removed, and the tree was repainted in glossy black and white to highlight its delicate petals and branches.

Like the tree’s initial creation, the recent restoration was a collaborative effort – this time between Brim, McDowell, Spruce Pine Main Street, the town of Spruce Pine and Boone Paint and Powdercoating. Terry Boone, with help from Chad Vance, sandblasted the metal sculpture and applied high-quality Tnemec paint, covering each flower by hand with multiple coats of white. As the tree’s removable limbs were lifted into place, at one point with the help of the town’s bucket truck, Brim said the artwork has always been a symbol of rebirth, renewal and hope. And standing in the sunshine on Oak Avenue after the assembly was complete, McDowell said he hoped the project would uplift spirits in the community.

The timing of the restoration was initially planned for the run-up to this year’s Fire on the Mountain blacksmithing festival, where Brim is featured as this year’s master blacksmith. Out of caution for the health of attendees, vendors, demonstrators and the local community, the festival is currently postponed, with the new date set for Saturday, Sept. 26. The associated Toe River Arts 14th annual Blacksmith Exhibit is now live online at www.toeriverarts.org. In the coming weeks, visitors to the website will also be able to listen to the audio of Brim reflecting on the works displayed.