Artist Skinks Up Park

Artist Skinks Up Park

Lizard mural coming to central Fayetteville


A 20-foot-long skink will invade Gregory Park this summer.

The Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Advisory Board on June 3 signed off on a mural from artist Jason Jones featuring the burrowing, tongue-flicking scincidae on a 20-foot by 10-foot riding wall. The wall is one of three at Gregory Park, built for bicyclists to go on a slight incline while riding trail routes.

The one that will have the lizard is meant for young riders, said Brannon Pack, executive director of Ozark Off Road Cyclists. The nonprofit group develops and builds soft-surface trails in the region.

Gregory Park is a 19-acre forest park west of College Avenue and Sycamore Street. The Off Road Cyclists have put in more than 1,100 volunteer hours to implement a $256,000 Walton Family Foundation grant to put in trails and mountain biking features at the park, Pack said.

A skink is a type of lizard usually a few inches in length. They’re known for their speed and being able to shed their tails if a predator grabs onto them.

Pack said the group saw the mural, with bikes riding across it, as a unique “Instagram opportunity” for pictures.

“We really like what Jason Jones does,” Pack said. “We really like the way he plays with shadow.”

Jones has created several murals in the city, including at the Town Center, the gnomes in front of City Hall and a rabbit caricature next to Frisco Trail. Pack said the skink mural will use staining, which penetrates deeper than spray paint.

Ozark Off Road Cyclists is working with the city’s Advertising and Promotion Commission to make the project possible. The commission during its May meeting agreed to give $2,500 to the cycling organization to oversee installation of the mural. The commission also will repair or replace the mural if damaged, according to a memorandum from Molly Rawn, the commission’s executive director.

Parks board member Dana Smith, a former environmental education specialist, said four types of skink live in Northwest Arkansas, and suggested the mural closely resemble one of the types. The lizards typically are earth-toned in color, but juveniles have a blue tail.

“If we’re gonna do an Arkansas skink, let’s do an actual skink,” she said.

Work on the mural is scheduled to begin in August.


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