Last week, people visiting the Perry County Park noticed something new — a set of interactive, life-sized wings painted on one of the park’s buildings. The set of wings, painted by a local artist, is the first of many to come to Perry County, and serves multiple purposes, according to the artist.
“My heart’s desire is to bring culture, color and hope to the wonderful people of this region,” said Frances Everage, the painter of the wings. The wings, Everage said, are intended to provide hope, promote a culture of art and help beautify the county, while also helping it improve.
The idea, Everage said, was inspired by artist Colette Miller’s Global Angel Wing Project in LA and all over the world. “My plan is to follow in her footsteps of reminding others that we are the angels of earth,” said Everage.
Everage, who serves on the board of the Appalachian Arts Alliance, said the wings go along with the group’s mission.
“One of the things we’ve been trying to do is promote culture and art and beauty and just trying to brings some life and color,” said Everage. “One of the things with Hazard is that it is so run down and dark and dreary, and we need some color. I’m all about hope. If people go into town and see crumbling buildings and dark and dreary things, they kind of lose hope.”
Everage said she presented the idea at last year’s Hazard event, and although she didn’t win, she did draw interest from county and city officials. Everage said that, after the event, Perry County Judge-Executive Scott Alexander approached her and said he loved the idea and asked her to paint the wings at the park.
“He has been so supportive,” said Everage. “He has been so great and patient,” she continued, explaining that she has had to work on designs, get materials and work on the painting around her work schedule. Everage works full time as a therapist at Always Hope Counseling, and said that she believes her job and her wing paintings are intertwined and work together.
“I’m excited about this actually coming to life, I’ve been wanting to do it for so long it is kind of surreal,” said Everage. “I’m excited to make this dream become a reality,” she continued. “I feel like it was a God-called thing. It’s been in my heart for so long and now that I have the opportunity I’m not going to squander it. It feels like something I have to do and a calling.”
Right now, said Everage, the wings will mostly be angel wings, but she does plan to expand to butterfly wings in the near future, and possibly other types later on. Each of the wings will have different designs and color schemes, as well.
So far, Everage said, she has only completed one set of wings, but is hoping to start outlining the second set this week if weather permits. “I’m hoping to put them as many places as people will let me,” said Everage.
Everage said she plans to paint two or three more sets of wings at the park, paint a mobile set for Hazard High School, a mobile set for the hospice center in memory of her grandma and a set of wings for Appalachian Apparel in downtown Hazard. Everage said she will be doing a few sets in other counties as well, but her focus will be in Southeastern Kentucky, particularly Hazard.
“My central focus is Hazard and Perry County,” she said. “There’s a small, but very loud and passionate group of people who are working really hard to make these things happen and I’m so proud to be a part of these organizations and so grateful to everybody for their support.”
If anyone is interested in sponsoring the wings, has ideas or a space they would like painted, Everage asks that you please contact the Fran’s Wings of Hope Facebook page.