- Associated Press - Sunday, October 16, 2016

DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) - Dave is dancing again. White gloves. White suit. DAVE in big capital letters across his white hat. A marching band in the background.

Artist Charly Palmer has made Dave come alive again in three frantic days on North Foster Street. Dothan’s newest mural is complete.

The city can come see Dave dance again. Don’t be surprised if people start throwing a few dollars at the base of the wall where he lives.

It is appropriate that Dancin’ Dave is behind Dothan’s musical roots mural - Buddy Buie, Roy Orbison, Ray Charles and Bobby Goldsboro - and in front of the city’s economic foundation mural. He is somewhere in between, not really part of either but belonging nonetheless.

Dave Whatley, however, would have fit almost anywhere. From the moment he died in September of 2015, Mural City became incomplete. Murals of the Wiregrass began soliciting submission ideas for a Dancin’ Dave mural in April.

Palmer, an accomplished artist who was born in Alabama, raised in Milwaukee and now lives in Atlanta, has completed the mural in three days.

Dancin’ Dave became famous throughout Dothan and surrounding communities because he walked everywhere he went. He dressed in all white and would stop and dance for a few dollars when he met someone.

Palmer said he was unfamiliar with Dancin’ Dave when he was awarded the project and began researching him immediately. He didn’t understand Dave, however, until this weekend.

“I guess it was Saturday, people were walking by or driving by all day and when they saw us working they would stop. Everybody had a Dancin’ Dave story,” Palmer said. “I knew from my research that Dave was an icon here, but I didn’t know how much he meant to the community.”

“He represents the spirit of this town,” Palmer said.

Palmer has participated in several high profile projects. He was selected to design the official 1996 U.S. Olympic Poster for the Atlanta Games, as well as the 1998 U.S. Winter Olympics Poster. He recently worked as a professor of fine art at Spelman College in Atlanta and is in the process of creating a children’s book. Some of his art is currently on display at the George Washington Carver Interpretive Museum on North Foster Street, across from the mural site.

However, he had never painted a large mural. Artist Wes Hardin, who created many of Dothan’s murals, helped provide the general outline for Palmer, who did the rest starting Friday morning. Palmer projected a photo of Dave onto the wall for scale. He used acrylic paint specially ordered from Japan and sent to a Los Angeles supplier. When finished, a special preserving agent will be applied.

“This has been a pleasure,” Palmer said. “Now, people in this city can always find Dancin’ Dave.”


Information from: The Dothan Eagle, https://www.dothaneagle.com

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