As the city gears up for its Plaza City Market event, crews of workers and volunteers were out in force Wednesday and Thursday morning, repainting buildings near Nance Plaza and replanting the square.
John Krajc, president of Myrtle Beach’s Five Points Business Association, was at one point Wednesday high above the palmetto trees in the plaza as he re-painted the outside of photographer Jack Thompson’s studio in a muted off-white.
“We pressure washed every single sidewalk in Nance Plaza. That took three days,” Krajc said. “It’s taken about two weeks to get all [the work] done.”
Several beds around the plaza had been replanted with low-growing foliage and blanketed in fresh mulch as workers completed a beautification project aided by a $3,000 grant from the Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors. Krajc is also a member of that organization.
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Work around the plaza leads up to Plaza City Market, a street fair that will take place in Nance Plaza and on the adjacent 9th Avenue North. The event, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, will feature live entertainment, a beer and wine garden, and 42 vendors and counting, Krajc said. Vendors will include farmers’ produce, food trucks, food tents, crafters, artisans and even two chiropractors.
The event will also include an unveiling of the mural on the wall of Thompson, the photographer. The image is a reproduction of Thompson’s early-60s shot of three women and a man walking on the beach, one he calls a “classic image.”
On Wednesday, two women pulled up to the plaza to see the mural, which was then uncovered. One of the women, Mary Ann Land, had a personal connection to the image.
Her sister, Ellen Land Taylor, is the second figure in the photo, reaching forward to touch a surfboard.
“It was just a picture. It was in the wintertime, it was cold, and she did some modeling,” Land said of her sister. “And then you forget about it.”
Land and her two sisters graduated from Myrtle Beach High school, where Thompson sought subjects for the photo. It was meant to represent the fact that at one point during the Vietnam War, young women outnumbered men in the United States three to one.
But Land said that slowly, the picture started showing up everywhere. When the sisters, now married, later took a family vacation to Pawleys Island, it popped up in a magazine, Land said.
“My other sister picks up the magazine and says, “Oh, here’s a picture with Beth Mates in it! I wonder who these other people are,’” Land said. “And [Taylor] says, ‘It’s me, you dummy!’”
Land said she and both her sisters will be at the unveiling ceremony Saturday.