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Hello Dolly! Edgewater Duo Turns Graffiti Eyesore Into Pop Art Sensation

Photo: Instagram user danny_beers.

When area residents Michelle and Robyn Lytle saw that the metal wall outside their business at 5517 N Broadway was tagged with gang graffiti for the second time this year, they were very dismayed. After enlisting a worker to remove the eyesore, the pressure washer left an equally ugly uneven look to the fence.

So the couple brainstormed as to how to beautify the front of their property. It was then that they both agreed to add a splash of art to Broadway Ave.

The result has caused a local pop-art sensation that showcases both the community’s art fondness and also the spirit of a female icon, Dolly Parton.

“Not everyone understands how awesome Dolly Parton is,” said the artist Michelle Lytle who co-owns the neighborhood event space The Lytle House. “She is a very open woman who puts it all out there.”

Michelle and Robyn have always thought of putting something on the wall which is a large blank canvas, but the marred fence forced them to quicken the decision. So Michelle projected the Dolly image onto the fence late one night and began to trace the outlines.  After about 10 hours, the iconic image of a young Dolly adorned the space.

“It is the perfect type of artwork because some will not get it and may not like it,” Michelle added. “But it’s those people who immediately know who it is, they are the ones who are going to really love it. She (Dolly Parton) is still a relevant person to this day. She has always been vocal for the causes she believes in.”

The Lytles say Dolly is an important female icon as well, as she has came from nothing and slowly became an incredibly important female business force. The fact that the image does not include the body parts that helped make Dolly famous (her breasts) has caused many not to recognize the woman behind the image. Michelle believes her artwork showcases why many people truly love Dolly, for her talent and her hard work.

Michelle realizes that the art will not last forever, so they are fully prepared to possibly update the wall with other images of iconic women over time. But she has faith that the Dolly artwork will last a long time.

“Obviously it was frustrated to be tagged, that someone is trying to damage your property,” said Michelle. “But the amazing thing that came out of it after I finished painting the image was having all the neighbors walking to work, everyone stopped and thanked me for putting it up. They were excited about it. It has been a great opportunity and I was happy to experience that.”


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