Pure imagination: Bellafina celebrates its new, colorful mural

Matthew Lane • Sep 7, 2017 at 12:00 PM

KINGSPORT -— Brenda Barnicki wanted a mural on the side of her building that best represented the spirit of what takes place inside.

After months of planning and a summer of painting, she got exactly what she wished for.

Barnicki is the owner of Bellafina Chocolates in downtown Kingsport, and the new mural is located on the side of the building at 123 Cherokee St. The mural, named “A Celebration of Women, Children and Chocolate,” is now complete and a community celebration will be held Thursday from 4:30-8 p.m. at the store to thank the local artists and volunteers who helped make the mural a reality.

Families in the community are invited to participate in the festivities. Children’s activities will begin at 5 p.m. and include dance performances by Holloway Dance School and New Visions Youth Program, face painting, hands-on painting activities, games and more.

“I love it,” Barnicki said of the new mural. “It's exactly what I wanted, which is very bright, cheerful and uplifting — the spirit of the place that's inside.”

The mural runs the entire length of the wall of Bellafina, and the focal point is a chocolate factory much like a child would imagine it. Rainbow-colored conveyor belts stretch out of the factory carrying boxes of chocolates all across the world.

“We'd like to think with each shipment the Kingsport spirit escapes with it,” Barnicki said.

The artwork for the chocolate boxes on the mural were done by local children, and every one has been used by Bellafina in the past on its actual chocolate boxes. The mural also includes a number of vignettes, of children or mothers with children, that are meant to represent the charities supported by Bellafina.

The mural was created this summer by a team of artists and community volunteers and was sponsored by the Kingsport Public Art Committee.

“I’m impressed that Bellafina Chocolates donates 100 percent of their profits to children’s charities,” said Ellen Elmes, the lead artist on the mural. “We wanted the mural to represent the magic of this chocolate factory as imagined by a child and how it touches the world with love, compassion … and chocolate.”

Bellafina Chocolates is an artisan chocolate company whose sole purpose is to help threatened women and children around the world. One hundred percent of the profits benefit charities helping children threatened by disease, poverty, abuse or neglect.

The company is run entirely by volunteers, plus the paid positions added to help women recovering from addiction, incarceration, abuse or other personal struggles.

Bellafina Chocolates truffles and customized corporate gifts are available online and in the Bellafina Chocolates gift shop. For more information, visit www.BellafinaChocolates.com.