The many downtowns throughout Johnston County have an impressive and growing collection of mural art by local and regional artists. Some simply gorgeous to look at and some interactive in a way that invites you to be a part of the work. All of them have interesting things to do nearby from shops to restaurants, to coffee shops, to parks, and more! So come for the art and stay for whatever else our downtowns have in store for you. At the bottom of this blog you will find an interactive map that will give you directions to each mural.


Artists working the mural; it looks like a postcard sent from Benson.

“Greetings from Benson” Mural - Benson

The Town of Benson recently completed  its first commissioned mural, by artist Jennifer Wood and partner Buffy Taylor, from Raleigh and Pittsboro respectively. The mural is located on the side of the Neighbors & Associates building along Main Street. The two were chosen following a “call to artists” in June put out by the Benson Art Advisory Board.  After sifting through some very talented artists from across the state, the Board ultimately chose Wood and Taylor for their spot-on rendering of the desired theme — a vintage inspired postcard.  

The Town encourages everyone to stop by the mural located at 104 E. Main Street and snap a photo. If you’re planning to post your mural selfie on Instagram, Facebook, or other social media platforms, be sure to use the hashtags #ilovebenson and #bensonlovesart. Plus, grab a bite to eat just across the street at Cornerstone Cafe or shop the many local boutiques along Main Street while you’re in the area!

Benson Mural with Mirror in the Center

Benton Card Company Mural - Benson

Have you ever taken a mirror selfie? Give it a try while looking into your reflection at the very center of this unique mural located on the side of the Benton Card Company building at 105 S Wall Street.  

An acient pyramid with a warrior kneeling below and a heart at the peak

El Charro Mural - Benson

Possibly an ode to the ancient indigenous cultures that inhabited Latin America a millennia ago. This mural is beautiful and a surprise find on the south side of the building. Located at 709 S Wall Street. 

Blue wings painted on a wall with a space in the middle to stand

Fiesta Mexicana Wings Mural - Benson

Eat a delicious meal at this locally-owned establishment and then be sure to pose with these lovely blue wings. Located at 702 E. Parrish Dr.

Jim Brown stands in front of the mural he painted in the Clayton Library

The Jim Brown Mural - Clayton 

This work of art includes 44 different vignettes of historical figures and landmarks as well as representations of business, civic, and cultural life. The mural is 10 feet tall and stretches about 27 feet down the hallway connecting the Clayton Library’s primary collection to the south wing.

Jim Brown of Clayton, an illustrator/designer, and his wife, Ginny, who is also an illustrator/designer, completed the mural in 2010. The mural tells the story of Clayton’s history, from its early days as a small community, through a lot of glory years, to its present-day status as one of the nation’s most talked-about small towns.

The library is located right off Clayton’s Main Street at 100 S Church Street, and that makes it near Clayton favs like Boulevard West coffee shop, The Market at Three Little Birds boutique, and vintage cocktail lounge Revival 1969.   

Lee Mims Mural on the side of a Clayton building

The Lee Mims Mural - Clayton 

This mural was painted by local artist and author Lee Mims and is located on Main Street, Clayton. Mims writes popular mystery novels and also paints wildlife. The mural is an historic depiction of Clayton and the area with script at the top that reads, “As long as the earth endures, seed, time, and harvest will never cease”. 

Circular mural with Clayton themes

The Clayton Center Mural - Clayton

Unveiled in 2009, this mural was Clayton's first public art project; it depicts town scenes and is called "Clayton Patchwork." Local artist Dorothy Demboski worked to give The Clayton Center a permanent 10-foot by 10-foot mural featuring icons from around town. Demboski has won many awards for her work over the years. She has a BFA Degree from Carnegie Mellon University and has also taught at the Art Institute of Chicago and at Carnegie Mellon.

In addition, the lobby of the Clayton Center hosts a monthly, rotating art exhibit that is sponsored by Clayton Visual Arts which often features local artists. The rotating art stays up all month long and gives the lobby the look of an ever-changing art museum. The Clayton Center, located at 111 E 2nd Street, is also a great starting point for the Clayton Sculpture Trail

Not a Banksy mural in Clayton of a child letting go of a balloon

“Not a Banksy” Mural - Clayton

As a bonus to the Clayton art scene, there is a fun bit of street art on the side of the Signage of Clayton building. A homage to the internationally known and mysteriously anonymous street artist Banksy. However, the artist was clear to not take credit; the piece of work is signed “Not a Banksy”. 

Mural with historic depictions and Celebrate Community in the center in Four Oaks

Dan Lee Mural - Four Oaks

This mural is located near the Four Oaks Post Office and across from Barbour's Grove Park and was painted by a local artist from Four Oaks,  Dan Lee. 

Kenly 95 Petro mural on the side of an 18-wheeler truck

Kenly 95 Petro Truck Mural - Kenly

A mural on the side of an 18-wheeler?! Believe it. The good news for those that want to see this work of art, the truck stays stationary. The entire big rig is parked inside the Kenly 95 Petro truck stop, on Truck Stop Road in Kenly; Exit 106 off I-95. FYI, just one exit up in Downtown Kenly is the Tobacco Farm Life Museum.

Selma Mural of a Train

Railroad Street Mural - Selma

This is a life-size mural of a steam engine locomotive painted by Raeford, NC artist Lacey Crime and is located in Downtown Selma. Ron Hester of Hester Properties is the building owner, and donated the space as a blank canvas for this project. 

The mural faces the North Carolina Coastal Line that is used by CSX and Amtrak; passengers from up and down the east coast arriving and departing from Selma Union Depot will be able to see the mural. In addition, customers of nearby businesses can enjoy the mural including Trackside Antiques, A Matter of Record, and more.  

A mural of a train in front of a train station in Selma's Vick Park

Vick Park Mural - Selma

The first mural to be created in Downtown Selma, in 2019, features historic landmarks around Selma and was painted in Vick Park, located at 112 E Anderson St. Fayetteville artist and former Selma art teacher Dorothy Finiello painted it. The mural was part of a larger East Anderson Street Redevelopment Plan executed by members of the Town of Selma Appearance Commission, which also included resurfacing, wall improvements, fencing, lighting, benches, tables, and landscaping. Vick Park is used for picnics, community meetings, the Selma Arts and Crafts Market, and other public gatherings.

Neuse River Walk Bridge Mural in Smithfield with various local and state landmarks depicted

Neuse River Bridge Mural - Smithfield

Sarah Gaskins and Clar McGeough, two 14-year old friends, enjoyed drawing and shared an affection for the greenway that runs through Smithfield. When it came time to pick a project for their Girl Scout Silver Award, the highest rank in their age group, the girls decided to use their artistic gifts to complete this vibrant, 1,300-square-foot mural that fills every inch of the space under the Market Street bridge. Broken into five panels, the painting features stops along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, including Grandfather Mountain, the Biltmore House, Smithfield, the Surf City Ocean Pier and Cape Hatteras.The mural’s central and largest panel showcases Smithfield. It depicts the Hastings House, the World War I memorial at the Johnston County Courthouse, and it includes a nod to the Ava Gardner Museum. The mural is painted under the US HWY 70 bridge that crosses the Neuse river at 200 S. Front Street.  

A mural which depicts the outline of a jeweler at work

Evans Jewelers Mural - Smithfield

This outline of a jeweler hard at work depicts which profession visitors will find inside this historic building. Evan’s Jewelers, a multi-generational, family owned and operated jewelry business, is located at 320 E. Market St., directly across from the Ava Gardner Museum in Downtown Smithfield and next door to The Diner or Sami’s Pizza for a great place for a bite to eat in Smithfield.