The Story of Bringing the Madison Mural Trail to Life

Madison, Alabama is finally home to two stunning murals. Both are grand in size, bold in color, and rich with meaning. Read on to learn how the first two murals along Madison’s very own mural trail came to fruition.

Bringing murals to Madison: Surely it’s as easy as picking some fun designs, grabbing some paint, and getting them thrown up on some exterior walls to add just a little bit of color to the city, right?

Err, not quite! The “behind the scenes” process of bringing something new (such as a couple of new murals) to a city is often much more involved and costly than one may assume, but a few local groups worked together diligently to bring the Madison Mural Trail to life! Here’s the story.

In case you haven’t heard (or seen them!), Madison now has two visually stunning, expansive murals right smack in the middle of our community.

A landscape-orientation mural is located on the east-facing wall of Filthy Gorgeous in downtown Madison and is a nod to our community’s historical roots.

A portrait-orientation mural is located within The Avenue community just south of Downtown Madison on a north-facing wall beside Honest Coffee. This mural is a nod to the growth of Madison as well as the migratory path of the Monarch butterfly.


The mural project began nearly 12 months ago after a few community members brought the idea to city leaders in Madison. Madison Visionary Partners soon came on board with support and rapidly put the pedal to the metal to get the ball rolling with funding, location approval, artistic selection, and more. 

Executive Director Melanie Thornton says that this project was a “perfect fit” for MVP.

“We see murals all over Alabama in both big and small cities, and we wanted that for Madison too.”

She shares that “public art displays tell the stories of a community and bring people together.”

The Madison Arts Alliance also brought their expertise in mural maintenance to assist with the long term care of the murals.

Thornton worked hard with Mayor of Madison Paul Finley and other city leaders to have an ordinance put in place that would allow art like this in Madison to move forward. 

A mural advisory board was formed and location ideas were suggested. 



Selecting locations was more challenging than it may seem because the right spots for a mural had to checkmark a handful of boxes, especially the Downtown Madison mural, where century-old buildings must be protected and respected.

Public viewability and accessibility are also important, so options were further limited. 


Cindy Sensenberger, the owner of the far-west downtown building that houses businesses such as Filthy Gorgeous and Pure Barre, was enthusiastic from the beginning and supportive of a mural being painted along the north-facing side. This checked the box for the historical downtown mural.

Charlie Sealy, Vice President of Sealy Management Company, and Christy Wimberly, owner of Honest Coffee, had had conversations about bringing a mural to The Avenue already, so they were easily on board with Thornton’s suggestion to move forward with an Avenue mural location.


Ann Moeller was hand-selected by the MVP Board of Directors to paint The Avenue mural, named “March of the Monarch”.

“We wanted a local artist,” shared Thornton, who explains that Moeller is from Madison with children in the school system.

She was first discovered by the advisory committee after her mural within the new Kroger on the corner of County Line Road and Highway 72 was recognized. 

“We loved the look of the mural she painted in Kroger, so we approached her with our idea. She has roots here, and we knew that she was exactly what we were looking for.”

The inset in the brick wall fits a perfect 15.5’ wide by 26’ tall mural. 

The Madison Mural in downtown was completed by Sonya Clemons, known as The Art Lady.

“I’ve been a huge fan of her work for years,” explains Thornton. “I love her style, and she has done great work with a few historic murals already.”

Thornton says that the committee loved that she is from North Alabama as well.

“Her artwork is very engaging and just leaves you wanting a little bit more.”


Thornton says that the “March of the Monarch” mural is a thoughtful and purposeful design that beautifies the city while also serving as an educational opportunity.

Inspired by a desire for a garden-themed mural that reflects the city’s growth and evolution, the committee behind the design chose the monarch butterfly as a symbol for two reasons. Firstly, Madison sits on the migratory trail for monarch butterflies, making it a fitting choice that resonates with the local environment. The design focuses on the significance of planting pollinator plants and showcasing the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. Secondly, it ties into our city’s evolution and transformation. 

This mural would not have been possible without funding support from organizations like the Huntsville Area Association of Realtors, Toyota of Alabama, Sealy Management, and Bank Independent.

For the Downtown Madison Mural, a heavy priority was creating a design appealing to children. Anything that felt overly serious or heavy was out of the picture.

“We wanted you to leave with a sense of happiness, so every element is very intentional and designed to be inclusive.”

The Mural Advisory Committee worked alongside local historian John Rankin to examine major parts of Madison’s history and determine what would be best for the mural. 

“We can’t put all of Madison’s history on one wall,” explains Thornton as she elaborates on how coming up with the design was trickier than it may seem. 

Both murals will have nearby plaques with website information that will help viewers dive deeper into the symbolism of what they see. 

This mural would not have been possible without funding support from the Alabama State Council on the Arts as well as District 4 State Representative Parker Moore, who championed this project from the beginning. 

Thornton says that she would be remiss to not give great thanks to the Madison Station Historic Preservation Commission as well as Madison’s Director of Development Services Mary Beth Broeren who took these projects on their backs and worked hard to get them approved. 

And here’s more good news: Phase Two of the Madison Mural Trail is already underway!

To learn more about the Madison Mural Trail and keep up with future additions, click here!


“MADISON MURAL”: 14 Main Street, Madison, AL 35758

“MARCH OF THE MONARCH”: 92 Shorter Street, Madison, Alabama 35758

Written by: All Things Madison