Lake Martin is a beautiful place as it is, and the artwork and murals around the Lake Martin area make the place even more special. Local artist, Charles Forbus, is the one responsible for the majority of these. While his artwork can be found inside many businesses and homes, there are a few places where the beauty of his artistic efforts can easily be seen on Lake Martin’s self-guided mural driving tour. Three spots house our favorites, and are easily seen as you drive through the Lake Martin area.
The Mini Mall Mural
Location: Lake Martin Mini Mall– 7995 Kowaliga Road Eclectic, AL
Background: This one was painted in 2022 and is the newest of the murals. The owners commissioned Charles for this painting, and knew that they wanted to feature the Lake Martin map. He had a little creative flexibility in this one though, and decided to take it in a fun and retro direction showcasing some of the fun things about the lake. It even includes one of Lake Martin’s most famous landmarks-Chimney Rock. If you go to check out the mural at Lake Martin Mini Mall, we suggest checking out the store itself too if you have time. They have tons of home and garden supplies, clothing, and really cool concrete pottery. If you are looking for the Lake Martin souvenirs to take back home, this is a great spot to grab them.
Downtown Alexander City Murals
Location: Downtown Alexander City
Background: There are a few of Charles’ murals in downtown Alexander City, so we suggest parking and just taking a walk around historic downtown. You will see some of the ones that he worked on as a part of a revitalization project that contributes to the historic and nostalgic feel of downtown.
You will also see the music mural that features Stevie Ray Vaughan and Clarence Clemmons, who was the saxophone player for Bruce Springsteen. Alex City Jazz Fest is a popular event that happens every summer in Alexander City, and this one was created in 2013 to celebrate the deep history of that event.
The Patriot Murals
Location: Patriot Fueling Center: 6507 Higway 63 South Alexander City, AL
Background: There are multiple murals at Patriot, and these were all painted in 2020. These are the personal favorite of the artist, and you really can see the fun he had painting these. The owners wanted something welcoming people to the area, and gave the artist alot of input. Charles wanted to showcase some of the lake themes and history of the area. He accomplished this by highlighting the area’s fishing scene, wildlife, and elements that contribute to the area’s rich history. He brought to art things like Hank Williams and the famous goats of goat island.
One unique thing about Lake Martin is the diversity of the islands that are a part of the lake experience. I couldn’t think of a more fun way to feature those than by adding one more island-Beer Island. This is right there on-site at Patriot Fueling Center, and is a great spot to pick up your favorite adult libations while checking out the murals.
About The Artist: Charles Forbus
Charles’ creative side and artistic abilities showed up early in life, and he knew in 2nd grade what direction his path would take. Art is always what has brought joy to his life-even at that young age.
He is originally from the area, but left for 15 years in a travelling band. Family and friends brought him back to the area though, and he has continued to leave his creative mark on the Lake Martin area ever since. Aside from working with local businesses to bring an artful vibe to their businesses and to the area, he also done custom murals for local schools, and even residents who have requested murals in their homes.
While his murals are amazing, one of the things he is most well known for are his portraits. He truly has an eye for capturing every detail, and you will be amazed to see the portraits he paints. At first glance, they look just like a photograph. As if that weren’t enough, he still plays music for fun, and you can often catch him performing live somewhere around town.
The murals around the Lake Martin area offer a great addition to the area, and we invite you to come take a drive, and check them out for yourself. This self-guided mural trail is definitely one of the best free things to do around Lake Martin!