Alabama Mural Trail expansion offers free digital passports and prizes
The Alabama Mural Trail is growing and now has a free digital passport to offer travelers along with the opportunity to win prizes.
The creation was launched in 2021 and is already home to dozens of painting locations in urban and rural areas around the Yellowhammer State. It showcases nearly 300 murals across 60 counties and regularly continues to add more works of art.
The project encourages locals and tourists alike to explore Alabama in areas outside of major attractions while enjoying art. According to the Alabama Mural Trail website, travelers can find anything from a historical display of the civil rights movement to a scene from To Kill a Mockingbird to a set of angel wings.
The Alabama Mural Trail is a project of The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development. The creation is in partnership with Alabama Association of RC&Ds, Ala-Tom RC&D, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, the Alabama Tourism Department, and Alabama Black Belt Adventures.
Erin Hackenmueller is the Branding Manager at UACED. She said the trail has been in development since 2020.
“When COVID happened, we were trying to find a way where people can still go out and exploring the outdoors but do it safely,” she explained. “Public art, you can experience it outside. We really wanted to encourage people to still go out and visit and see new places but to do it in a safe way. We've been consistently adding new murals and adding new dimensions.”
The Alabama Mural Trail now offers a free digital passport for participants to use to earn points in exchange for prizes. Hackenmueller said this is done by visiting a selection of murals on the trail.
“The digital passport is a way to actually track what murals they visit,” she explained. “If you go to alabamamuraltrail.org, you'll be able to sign up for a path. Then the passport will send an email to you, and you'll be able to activate the path on your phone. You don't actually have to download any apps. It basically just put a little bookmark on your phone.”
Hackenmueller said those wanting to use the digital passport can then turn on their
location services while visiting a mural on the trail to check in and receive points. Travelers also can snap a picture in front of the mural, tag @alabamatourist on Facebook and Instagram and use #SweetHomeMurals.
“Once you rack up 25 points, you'll be able to go to any one of our partner locations,” she explained. “We have 12 partner locations across the state, and you'll be able to receive your own Alabama Mural Trail prize.”
Those pick-locations are:
· Birmingham Downtown Visitor's Center
· Black Belt Adventures
· Crenshaw County Economic & Industrial Development Authority
· Gulf Shores Welcome Center
· Monroe Chamber of Commerce
· Visit North Alabama
· Orange Beach Welcome Center
· Sumter County Chamber of Commerce / Land Hall
· The St. James Hotel
· Tourism Council of Bullock County
· Visit Mobile Welcome Center
· Visit Tuscaloosa - Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Visitor Center
Hackenmueller said the Alabama Mural Trail works for tourism because of public art, and she wants to encourage communities to think about an approach called “placemaking” when it comes to economic development planning.
“Placemaking is basically centering people when you're planning and designing a public space,” she explained. “People like to visit beautiful vibrant spaces; they like to live in beautiful vibrant spaces. They like to bring their businesses to beautiful, vibrant spaces,” she continued. “Public art bring[s] people together [and] bring[s] people to visit these places. Public art really encourages people to not just visit but to stay longer and to travel further.”
The UACED team is working to incorporate all 67 of Alabama’s counties in the trail. The center is accepting mural submissions that meet certain criteria. More information on submission details can be found here.