The Amazing Story Behind the New Mural on Display at the Spruill Gallery

Press Release from Spruill Gallery:

In early July, Spruill Gallery and the Spruill Center for the Arts announced Amplify: Spruill’s Annual Outdoor Art Installation. This installation is the first of an annual award given by Spruill that promotes local, Georgian, and national artists. This year’s winning entry was created by local artist Christopher Michaels.

For the past week Michaels has been working on the installation of his winning design. His mural, titled Find Your Wings, is full of contrast and color and also has a story that resonates within the Dunwoody community.

Find Your Wings is an homage to his wife, Amanda and her recovery from being struck in a crosswalk by a distracted driver on her way back from Dunwoody’s Lemonade Days. As an avid runner prior to her accident, Amanda’s injuries were so severe her doctors said she may never walk unassisted again. After weeks in the hospital and multiple surgeries Amanda was immobilized for months as her body tried to heal.

From the moment the accident occurred friends, neighbors and strangers from the Dunwoody community offered support, brought food and helped with the children so that Michaels could care for his wife. Through the most incredible amount of hard work and determination Amanda pushed herself in intense physical therapy and in August, during the Butterfly Festival, she placed her hands on a walker and took her first tentative steps. She has continued to push herself every day and literally taught herself how to walk again. Eighteen months after her accident she completed her first 5K here in Dunwoody, one strenuous step at a time.

“Amanda’s incredible determination and efforts to heal are the inspiration for my mural design,” said Michaels. “The saying, ‘when life gives you lemons’ is an idiom for misfortune and butterflies are a metaphor for metamorphosis and beauty. 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 mural will be displayed on the side of the smokehouse building facing Ashford Dunwoody Road. The official unveiling  took place Saturday, October 10 at 6pm.

 “I am so excited about Spruill’s AMPLIFY project and the artwork that has been selected,” said Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch. “This project is a great beginning to public art in Dunwoody, where we recently adopted a public art plan. I am grateful for our partnership with Spruill and the work they do to share, promote and encourage art in our community.”

A limited-edition print run of the final work will be available for purchase at the Spruill Gallery. Prints may also be purchases online at

Meet the artist during a Zoom interview with Spruill Gallery director, Jennifer Price, and learn more about Michaels’s creative process on Thursday, October 15 at 7pm. Access the Zoom link here or view on the Spruill Gallery Facebook page.

About the Spruill Center for the Arts

The Spruill Center for the Arts is a private, non-profit organization offering an extensive and diverse program of arts classes for all ages and skill levels. The Spruill Gallery, located at 4681 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody, GA features professional artist exhibition series, special events and a gift shop showcasing handcrafted items from local artists. More information about the Spruill Center for the Arts and complete course listings can be found by visiting