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Brooksville mural tour offers low-key stroll through local history

Projects coordinator Jan Knowles is bringing attention to the downtown mural scene

BROOKSVILLE — Jan Knowles spent much of her youth living in other parts of the world as an Air Force brat. As a wife and mother, she moved throughout the state of Florida as her husband’s job with IBM took him from place to place.

It was during a motorcycle tour through the Withlacoochee Forest that she found her forever home and ended up settling in Brooksville in 1972.

“We loved the terrain — the hilly and historic hometown feeling that I never had,” she said.

Now she is the docent for a new mural walking tour offered by the Hernando Fine Art Council.

The Livery Stable Mural, painted on the Lowman's law firm at 32 S. Main St., is one of eight murals featured on a new walking tour sponsored by the Hernando Fine Arts Council. It features the livery stable, which housed the Bell Fruit Company, one of the most important businesses in early Brooksville. [ MICHELE MILLER | Times ]

Knowles is steeped in local history, having entrenching herself in several organizations over the years. She served as chair for the annual Brooksville Raid Reenactment, was an 18-year president of the Hernando Museum and a member of the now-defunct Mural Society that worked with the city to produce and fund the eight murals featured on the tour. She also is project coordinator for the Hernando Fine Arts Council and co-chair of Brooksville’s annual Art in the Park event.

The mural tour is way to bring light to art that might have been forgotten, she said, or that people might be wondering about — especially if they are new to the area.

This is one of two murals dedicated to firemen and policemen who protect the Brooksville community and one of eight murals featured on a new walking Mural Tour offered by the Hernando Fine Arts Council. [ MICHELE MILLER | Times ]

It’s also a way to put to use the Civil War dress she bought years ago for the Brooksville Raid.

“I never got to wear it for that,” she said. “I was always too busy running around and doing things.”

This tour promises to be a more low-key, casual walk through art and local history, with one modern caveat. Those who go can use their cell phones to access QR codes located on special plaques that include information about the murals and the artists.

“The tour takes about an hour,” Knowles said, adding that the murals are all within three blocks. “There’s nice places to have lunch or shop so people can make a day of it.”

If you go: Tours are from 10:30 a.m. to noon, the third Friday of the month from September through May. Custom tours are available upon request. Check-in time is at 10:20 a.m. at the Hernando County Courthouse steps, 20 North Main St., Brooksville. Advanced registration is required by 5 p.m. the day before the tour. A minimum of 5 and maximum of 15 people are required for the tour to be conducted. Donations support the creative arts in Hernando County. For information, to register by phone or to schedule custom tours on other days, call Jan Knowles at 352-279-5182.

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