An artist who commemorates North Carolina’s musical heritage has just completed a mural of Doc and Merle Watson in Boone.

Since 2020, Scott Nurkin has created murals of influential Tar Heel musicians in cities and towns that are closely connected to them. His previous work has included John Coltrane in his birthplace of Hamlet and Thelonious Monk in Rocky Mount.

The Boone mural depicts Doc and Merle Watson. It’s based on portraits of the father-son mountain music legends taken by Jim Morton, a photographer who is also known for his work preserving Grandfather Mountain. In the mural, the Watsons are surrounded by rhododendrons.

It’s painted in grayscale on the side of a brick building in the 200 block of Howard Street. Nurkin says he was excited to get a downtown location near Appalachian State University.

“This one has been by far the greatest location I have dealt with," he says. "It’s close to the Doc Watson Statue. It was ideal, just totally ideal.”

The Boone mural is the 17th in Nurkin’s series for the North Carolina Musician Murals Project. He says the next up will be a depiction of Grammy Award-winning producer and DJ 9th Wonder that will go in Winston-Salem’s arts district. 

He’s planning to start work on that later this month.


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