CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. – The Town of Carolina Beach has a new program underway, designed to brighten up downtown, and boost tourism and the economy. Maureen Lewis founded the Carolina Beach Mural Project when she noticed the lack of public art around the community.

“When we moved here I was like 'Why are there no murals?' and I started inquiring,” says Lewis. “The will was there, it was just nobody really knew how to start the program.”

The project has now commissioned three murals, using artists from all over the state. Carla Garrison was the second artist chosen and set to work bringing her design to life on what used to be a surf shop.

“I honestly really did not think I would ever get it,” says Garrison. “I thought it would just be fun to submit.”

Her mural is inspired by the history of the building, which is an important element of the Carolina Beach Mural Project. Garrison's design features the beach front as well as a surfer through the eye of a camera lens.

“It kind of just works in layers from back to front,” says Garrison “Horizon, and then water, and then beach. So that's what takes the most time is working your way up from the dark shadows to those light highlights, which actually start making it look realistic.”

She was thrilled to have been chosen to be a part of the program and is honored to be able to paint in a town that means so much to her. She enjoyed visiting family in Carolina Beach for many years, so the area holds a special place in her heart.

She hopes that her mural will inspire others in Carolina Beach to see the town for all of its beauty.

“We're just gonna have a nice, awesome photo of the wall itself to sell for prints and that money will go straight back into the Carolina Beach Mural Project,” says Garrison.

The program is currently run completely on donations and support from community members. Along with money and supplies, people can donate walls to be painted as well. The project's goal is to have as many murals as there are walls in Carolina Beach.

“I think that the more public art you can bring into the community, the better,” says Garrison. “It's the most wonderful thing to have.”