Lemons transitioning into monarch butterflies adorn the smokehouse at Dunwoody’s Spruill Center for the Arts Gallery as the first mural in what is planned as an annually rotating exhibit.

“Find Your Wings” by Christopher Michaels. (Spruill Center for the Arts)

Christopher Michaels’ “Find Your Wings” was unveiled Oct. 10 at the gallery at 4681 Ashford-Dunwoody Road. It replaces the famous “Everything Will Be OK” mural, which will find a permanent home at Brook Run Park.

“Find Your Wings” is a personal piece for Michaels and his wife Amanda. It refers to her recovery from devastating injuries suffered when a driver hit her in a crosswalk as she left one of the local Lemonade Days festivals — and her achievement, after months of effort, at walking again at the local Butterfly Festival in August.

Lemonade Days itself is a reference to tragedy, hope and “making lemonade out of lemons.” The festival began in 1998 as a fundraiser for a tornado that demolished a large section of Dunwoody.

Michaels paints a lemon on the artwork. (Spruill Center for the Arts)

“Amanda’s incredible determination and efforts to heal are the inspiration for my mural design,” said Christopher Michaels in a press release. “… The lemons transitioning into butterflies in this mural are symbolic of her pushing herself to walk again and are also a message of hope and encouragement to anyone who is making a journey from hard times to better times. It is dedicated to her and to the people of Dunwoody who came together and helped our family in a time of need.”

The black-and-white “Everything Will Be OK” mural that formerly appeared on the smokehouse became the unofficial slogan for the recently incorporated city of Dunwoody when artist Jason Scott Kofke created it in 2009. A re-created version had remained there from 2011 until this year. Plans for new, rotating artworks came a few months after Kofke got into a copyright dispute with the center about using his design as yard signs for a pandemic fundraiser. The conflict was resolved, but the fundraiser soon ended.

“Find Your Wings” was the winner of a competitive art installation contest that the arts center dubbed “AMPLIFY.” A new winner will be unveiled every October. Prints of the mural are available for purchase. For more information, see spruillarts.org.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.