The sky is the limit: Jim Frank’s art continues to enrich West Point

Published 9:00 am Thursday, August 10, 2023

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The artist who painted the iconic railroad tracks mural outside of Johnny’s Pizza in West Point has painted a mural at West Point Elementary School and has plans for more. 

West Point artist Jim Frank painted the mural during the summer. His two grandchildren attend the school, and he hoped it would make them proud. 

“I really didn’t want my name all over this,” Frank said. “I just wanted them to be proud.”

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The mural, which is located in the school’s gym, represents the school’s new theme, “The sky is the limit,” based on a logo created by one of WP Elementary School’s students, Jordan Estes. 

“We believe that there are no limits and no boundaries to what our students can accomplish,” said West Point Elementary School Principal Keneithia Cook. “And as we revolutionize our school culture, we just want to do something that we haven’t done before to make it truly what we say as being a part of Troup County School System — and that’s making West Point Elementary School a place for every kid.”

The theme is to encourage students and faculty to “increase student academic achievement and revolutionize the school culture.” Cook said that when Frank saw the logo, he offered to create a mural for the school. 

“He was super excited to be able to create the mural for us because it’s, I like to say, a grand legacy that he’s leaving here with his grandchildren being students here,” Cook said.

Cook said the mural makes a great addition to the gym. Many students have already gotten to take photos in front of it during the school’s Meet the Teachers event last week. 

“I was just amazed at how beautiful it looks. He really brought our vision to life in terms of you know what it looks like,” Cook said. “It’s absolutely amazing.”

Frank began painting murals in 1993 when he went across the street to a restaurant as his wife was in labor with their son. The owner of the restaurant, Starlight Grille on Vernon Road, handed him a paintbrush.

He has received requests for murals and signs by word of mouth ever since. The second mural he did was for Britt’s Gun and Pawn in Lanett. 

Though he is from Seattle, Washington, Frank has built a following around the Valley area for his artwork. Frank’s handiwork has become a staple of West Point. While some are large murals, others are simple signs and logos. 

In 2021, Frank recreated West Point’s recognizable 1914 railroad trestle at Johnny’s Pizza on Third Avenue. Nobody visiting downtown West Point could miss the photorealistic image on the exterior wall. 

“There’s such a great feeling of accomplishment,” Frank said of the completed work.

He also painted the sign for the “Burrow Warehouse” and the Point University wings mural. 

Frank’s secret is that he works slowly and tries to stay within the lines. He likes his murals best when he makes them replicate the reference image perfectly. 

After 30 years of painting, Frank said he still finds the process therapeutic. Though it can be physically exhausting, he finds the work soothing and often won’t even notice that people have stopped to watch him work.

“I have a lot of energy,” he said. “… And when I paint, it’s soothing. It’s like therapy.”

For all the hours of hard work, he said the reason he makes his art is so that he can see people enjoying it. 

Frank plans to continue adding his artwork to West Point Elementary. In the upcoming weeks, the local legend will begin working on another mural for the lobby area. 

“They’ll be able to look back on that for years to come and say, ‘Hey, my grandfather created that mural for our school,’” Cook said.