A few months ago, local painter Gus Cutty created a likeness of iconic drag queen RuPaul on the west exterior wing of the Bledsoe Building in West Asheville, joining his earlier rendering of a vintage-era Dolly Parton. Both murals were commissioned by Terra Marshall, owner of Beauty Parade salon, and the sunny, joy-infused portraits regularly get social-media shares by visitors from around the country and from around the world.
“People love the mural,” Marshall recently remarked to Asheville Made. (That includes RuPaul himself, who quipped, “Gorgeous! I hope it’s real” on Twitter.)
“And I’m sure plenty of people hate it, too,” adds Marshall. “But it’s not for them. It’s a celebration.”
There’s no shortage of post-pandemic milestones to celebrate this summer, as small businesses of all kinds continue to ease restrictions for clientele. But for Marshall, a breast-cancer survivor and the mother of two school-age sons, the party is also personal.
“I mainly had RuPaul painted as a stand for love and unity,” she says, “and to celebrate one-year being cancer free.”