Memorializing Heather Heyer

at the Free Speech Monument

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
7:00 AM – 11:00 AM EDT

Directly across from the Charlottesville City Hall

Special thank you to VA Home Realty

Platinum sponsors VA Home Realty has been instrumental in helping Tribute Mural complete this project!

Join Us For The SWELTY Wall Crawl


Saturday, June 10, 2017
12:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT

Shakkas (start), The Edge, Chemistry, Sandbar, Lunasea, Baja, & Shuckers (end)
2014 Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA 23451

Special thank you to VA Home Realty

Platinum sponsors VA Home Realty has been instrumental in helping Tribute Mural complete this project!


We could use corporate sponsors and donations. If you have questions please call Sam Welty at 757.692.9845.

Great America I

“A Tribute to American Heroes”

By Sam Welty
Originally painted on the west facing wall of the Flagship Inn on the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in September 2002. Sam created this monument to acknowledge the sacrifices of the local military personnel and their families. For years it stood a reminder to locals and tourists alike that the freedom and safety they enjoy does indeed come at a high price paid by people just like them. The mural was reimagined and painted again in 2014 as an ongoing tribute to the men and women of the United States military and the strong connections they have in the local community.

By mid-November, 2016, the Hotel had become a part of the Howard Johnson franchise for a local resort management company. The decision was made during maintenance to cover this icon of the Virginia Beach oceanfront with a layer of primer and gray paint.

Though statements were made assuring the outraged community that their intent had always been to restore the mural after the maintenance was completed, within months the decision was made to leave the nearly 12,000 sq.ft. wall in it’s clean, yet uninspiring current condition. The search was on for a new home for this visual representation of the people’s commitment to the men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting our way of life.

We’d love your support!

A new home has been found, a new image agreed upon, and the work of preparing for this enormous undertaking begins. The entire 1900 block visible from Pacific Avenue will become the guardian of the next incarnation of Great America I. The vision alone is not enough to restore this visual commitment to the local military and their families. There are huge expenses, both direct and indirect associated with a project on this scale. Research, design, equipment rental, paint and materials, labor, insurance and many other costs of doing this work over a six week period must be covered before the artist can successfully complete the new Military Tribute mural. Sponsors from the local business community will be helping to get things rolling but the most valuable support will come from all of you!

You are invited to contribute in any way you are able to help bring this dream to reality. There are several ways to assist and all are greatly appreciated by both the artist and the people who will view the restored mural when it is complete. There will be opportunities at certain levels of contribution to be acknowledged for your support and receive gifts of merchandise associated with the Tribute Mural. Any funds beyond the requirements of the mural production will be used to continue the ongoing series of Tribute Murals which have already stretched across much of our great nation.

Great America XV–”Doing what was right”

A Tribute Mural For Heather Heyer

In the wake of the recent protests, artist Sam Welty has been called to Charlottesville to memorialize the life of Heather Heyer. Heyer was run down by an angry driver while counter-protesting the alt-right and fighting what she believed was injustice. Heather is remembered by her family as a strong woman who always stood up for what she believed. This tribute mural for Heather will be unlike others in that it will be drawn in chalk. Due to others’ bias, weather, and other uncontrollable factors it most likely will not remain permanent. On August 16, 2017 you can see this Tribute Mural at the Free Speech Monument near Charlottesville Downtown Mall directly across from the Charlottesville City Hall. Photos will be taken in an attempt to preserve this commissioned memorial for years to come. This piece was commissioned by The Thomas Jefferson Center For The Protection of Free Expression.

You are the ones who can make a real difference with your support. You and your commitment to the men and women of the United States military are the inspiration for the new Great America I. You are the reason we paint!!