Rocky Mount Revitalization – Seeing Beyond The Ordinary With Kenton Nelson


I discovered the California artist, Kenton Nelson after I began writing Main Street. Though he paints figures and landscape, it is his architecture bathed in light that calls to me.  Often when I wander around downtown Rocky Mount, I think of his beautiful work and know he would see what I see. Nelson traces his interest in painting back to his great uncle, Roberto Montenegro, renowned Mexican muralist and Modernist. The style of Nelson’s paintings has their origins in American Scene painting, Regionalism, and the work of the WPA artists of the 1930′s.

e6eef393d274efd04d645dbd7a056b62The moment I read…..the objective in his paintings is to idealize the ordinary,  I knew he was for me.  I understand that my romantic notions about the buildings along Main Street, the historic districts filled with significant architecture,  my dream of a boutique hotel in the Masonic Building on Church Street, Machaven with its doors open to the community again, Stonewall Manor with a new roof and a full-time Director…..I know I’m missing lots and lots of money and the practicalities of preservation, but like Kenton Nelson, it can’t hurt to idealize the ordinary. Those of you who keep me company on Main Street are believers too. You love driving through the Mill Village checking on the progress of things. Love the American flags, the rocking chairs, having a great meal at The Prime Smokehouse, you even love arguing about the Community Center and the politics of it all, because that’s what people do when they care about a place and want what’s best. Let the paintings of Kenton Nelson ignite your imagination about what seems ordinary, but in fact, here in Rocky Mount, is extraordinary.





4 thoughts on “Rocky Mount Revitalization – Seeing Beyond The Ordinary With Kenton Nelson

  1. Stepheny, I feel your writing about Rocky Mount does the same, idealizes the ordinary. Your descriptions of buildings, homes, and streets are like poetry. You are a visionary, and maybe we’ll all be lucky enough to see some of what you envision come true! Thank you for writing so well about a place I love.


    1. Well, you made my day! What lovely things to say, coming from someone who writes her own column in the R. M Telegram. Hope to reach everyone in the community so they stay excited about what is happening. Thank you for your support in this.


  2. It’s so refreshing to hear someone who loves my home town, despite not having been raised there. From afar these days, I love hearing the progress that is being made in recapturing more of its beauty and charm. Thank you for the kind, visionary, and well-spoken words.

    David Lewis

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Delighted you and I can meet on Main Street and amble along together. You need to return home when possible and see for yourself how things are coming along. In the meantime, I will keep you posted with people and places I come upon. Thank you for taking the time to read what I get up to.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s