Local artist creates new ‘wings’ for Kitty Hawk retail store

Published 3:31 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2022

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What would be more natural than a store named Wings having a display of wings on the outside of the building?

Thanks to the talents of Buxton artist Kennedy Fletcher, motorists heading south can now catch a view of just that: several panels of butterfly wings on the north wall of the Kitty Hawk Super Wings store at 4116 North Croatan Highway.

It’s certainly appropriate, given the name of the store. The recently-completed mural also serves as a companion to another work of art there.

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In 2019, Norfolk artist Sam Welty painted a mural on the south exterior wall of the store showing scenes of the 1903 first heavier than air powered flight in Kill Devil Hills by Orville and Wilbur Wright. Now the north wall has its own mural.

The eye-catching art concept is an idea of Wings owner and manager Maeyan “Manny” Golasa, who had an artist paint sports teams on the wall of a t-shirt shop he once owned in Brooklyn, NY.

With an eye for improving the settings around him, Golasa wanted to incorporate some Kitty Hawk history of the area into art and Welty’s creation fit the bill.  With that project completed, Golasa turned his attention to the other side of the building.

He wanted a local artist and a mutual friend who knew Golasa was looking for someone to do another mural helped put him in touch with Fletcher.

“I was finally able to find a local artist from Buxton to finish up the other side of that building,” said Golasa. “Kennedy has done a fabulous job.”

Making contact with Fletcher, Golasa had the Buxton artist visit the Kitty Hawk store and the two spoke.

“I told her what vision I had,” explained Golasa. “When she expressed her vision it sounded like she was the perfect one to do it because that’s what she does, and I liked her personality. So I felt there was no need to look further. We shook hands and she started a couple of days later.”

She has done similar work here on the Outer Banks. In an almost endless list of projects, her brushes have enhanced Pangea Tavern, Koru Beach Club, the new RV park by the Avon pier, Island Cycles in Rodanthe, two large murals at The Fort Strength and Fitness in Frisco, Sundara In Frisco, several rental home sheds, some sheds at Captain B’s campground in Buxton, The Blue Pelican Art Gallery in Hatteras, Angelos Pizza in Buxton, the newly opened Cookie Shack in Nags Head, and Pony Island Restaurant in Ocracoke.

Painting is also not her only talent.

“I also enjoy making jewelry from the crystals that I dig up during my travels,” Fletcher explained. “I have been making jewelry for about 4-5 years and only started painting this year. I actually never painted anything on canvas, the first painting I ever did was the butterfly mural that I created for my grandma when she was in the hospital last year. I did this to surprise her and she loved it and so did the community. Since this was my first mural and it’s located in Buxton, I decided to make my name on social media, @thebuxtonbutterfly.”

Before beginning the Kitty Hawk Wings painting process, Fletcher looked for various wing outlines and started thinking of the different ideas she could use for her wings. She then drew her own designs. Projecting those outlines on the wall at night as patterns, Fletcher sketched the outlines and spent the next couple of weeks painting during daylight hours.

There was plenty of sunlight in July and August. Fletcher would often put in 12-14 hour work days. That’s in addition to the hour-plus drive from Buxton to Kitty Hawk. She adopted a schedule of working as early as possible and staying as late as possible to make it worth the drive.

“The hardest part about this project was the heat,” said Fletcher. “Some days it felt like it was over 100 degrees. I was wiping the sweat from my face every few minutes and my eyes were bloodshot and burning by the end of the day from the sweat going in them.”

But it wasn’t all a torturous ordeal.

“The best part was seeing others interacting and taking photos with the completed wings,” she added.

Enlisting the help of others, in addition to a few volunteers, she often had a crew of helpers.

“There were, at times, four of us working on the wing murals and other times I worked alone,” Fletcher related. “I always pay the people who help me, because I want others to see that their talents are worth the work that they put into it. I even had an 11-year-old girl (Avery Sprouse of Virginia Beach, Va.) help me for a few hours. She was there on vacation and her dad said that she was an artist, so I asked if she wanted to help. They came back a few hours later and she helped with the candy/arcade themed wings. I paid her as well.”

“It came out amazing,” commented Golasa. “People are stopping by, and they love it.”

There’s no reason for people not to like it. Looking at the seven new panels of wings, the reflected afternoon sunlight helps some appear ready to take flight.

With painting completed, it’s time for the next phase of the project. Now, as he did for the south side of the building, Golasa plans to add lights to the north side for nighttime visibility. Also on the agenda is to clean up the adjacent property and add picnic tables.

It’s also an idea that may spread to some of the other Outer Banks Wings beach and souvenir stores.

“They may not be similar, and not on all the other stores, but murals are part of the plan,” Golasa explained. “Probably Duck and Corolla, and since Kennedy’s in Buxton I might do something on the Hatteras store.

As for the designs on other stores: “I may go with her vision,” Golasa continued. “I have some ideas and we’ll talk it out. We will definitely do more work together.”