Papa's General Store mural

This sketch by mural artist Tommy Simpson will serve as the inspiration for the final product. 

By the time the holidays roll around, the Third Avenue side of Papa’s General Store will sport a new vintage-style mural.

This past week, the City of Conway’s Community Appearance Board approved the idea that was submitted by Tommy Simpson, who also painted the train mural on the side of Rivertown Roasters on Fourth Avenue and restored the steamboat mural across from City Hall.

The sketch will serve as an inspiration for the final art, which is being left up to Simpson to finalize the details.

“I’m very honored and thankful that they are still coming up with things for me to do,” joked Simpson. “I’m privileged to be given the opportunity to keep doing this.”

Craig Smith, owner of Papa’s General Store, is footing the bill and excited to see that corner of downtown beautified, and was impressed with the ideas that Simpson produced after speaking about it only briefly.

“I saw what this artist can do. Then after a few conversations and a brief overnight sketch…I said, ‘Wow!’” Smith said. “[The mural] is going to be an improvement on that corner.”

The painted design will have a 3-D effect, Simpson said, which will include painted shadow illusions that will get stronger as the sun goes down in the evenings.

“If you’re driving by, you’re going to look twice,” Simpson said.

The mural will be one of the first things motorists see as they come down from the bridge into downtown.

“We appreciate you doing it,” CAB member Heather Whitley told Smith and Simpson. “It will make the corner so much better.”

Those traveling through Downtown Conway this week will see scaffolding going up in the area soon for preliminary repairs in preparation for the artwork, with painting to hopefully begin next week, Simpson said.

Hillary Howard, director of Conway Downtown Alive, is looking forward to the new artwork.

“When a property owner in the Downtown District takes steps to improve the appearance of their property, it benefits the entire district. This intersection is one of the main gateways in Downtown Conway, and we are excited to see these improvements begin,” Howard said.

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