Raleigh artist begins work on new ‘All are welcome’ mural in downtown

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh artist Luke Buchanan has started work on a new “All are welcome” mural in downtown.

It became Raleigh’s unofficial welcome sign into downtown.

However, when Buchanan painted the “All Are Welcome” mural four years ago, he never imagined the impact it would have.

Monday, Buchanan and his brother, Sean, began work on a new version of the mural. 

The original had to be painted over in preparation for a new restaurant.

“To have a painting hanging in the city, that belonged to everybody, and everyone had ownership over, it was a real special feeling,” said Buchanan.

Buchanan says in 2015 the then owner of the building on South McDowell Street near Poole’s, asked him to paint a mural on the side of the building.

“Things were going on for HB2,” Buchanan said. “He said ‘I’ve got this whole wall. We should put something up there to say we’re not happy with this new law.’ I said well what about ‘all are welcome.'”

Buchanan said the idea came from a popular saying at Poole’s where he works as a bartender.

“Come on in. It’s like church. All are welcome,” he said.

Since then, the mural has become somewhat of an icon, with tourists and local stopping to take photos – something Buchanan said he never expected.

“I think it’s a beautiful message. I think for this day and time this is where the country should be,” said David Riley who is visiting Raleigh from Los Angeles.

Last month, social media users expressed concern when the side of the building was painted green.

Chef Ashley Christensen, who currently owns the building, posted on Instagram saying the mural would be back, once the repainting was complete.

“I’m glad to see they are bringing it back.  I think it’s a great message. Very inclusive, it speaks to the city of Raleigh,” said Cary resident Jay Carpenter.

Buchanan said he was happy to pick up his brush and paint a new version of the mural saying the message still rings true.

“It’s important to realize that even if we think different things, we’re kind of all in this together.  In the city in general, being the capital of the state, and our restaurant, and our community it really is important that everyone feel welcome,” he said.

Buchanan hopes to have the mural completed before the 2019 Hopscotch Music Festival next week.

Christensen is working to open Poolside Pies in the once vacant space and had a new coat of paint put over Buchanan’s mural.

CBS 17 will follow along and post images of the final mural.

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