Carolina Beach Mural Project unveils new installment paying tribute to Carolina shag

Tribute to Carolina Shag pays tribute to the popular dance that began along the Carolina coast.
Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 8:47 AM EDT
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CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - A popular project continues in Carolina Beach with the unveiling of the town’s 16th mural.

The newest mural, “Tribute to Carolina Shag,” pays tribute to a popular dance that began along the Carolina coast. Those wishing to view it can do so at 100 N Lake Blvd., which is home to Beach Blooms, Island Book Shop, iEscape Rooms and dude...Sweet! Candy Shop.

Referred to by some as “the swing dance of the south,” this mural keeps the dance’s history alive by showcasing the people and places that made it famous.

The latest mural joins fifteen others in celebrating the culture and history of Carolina Beach, with Tribute to Carolina Shag being among the first ones to focus on the town’s historical legacy.

The town is excited to display this important piece of Carolina Beach’s history in a way that the community and tourists can enjoy.

“We’re coming up on our centennial in 2025, we’ll be 100 years old. That’s got every part of the government, every committee and everyone involved starting to look back at our history. Thinking about how we get in what tells a story, so to see the murals embracing that history is gonna be fantastic for the town,” said Carolina Beach Mayor Lynn Barbee.

It’s still unclear which Carolina the dance got its official start in. While some argue the case for North Myrtle Beach, many others believe it began here in Carolina Beach.

The historical roots of Carolina shag can be traced to where Bop City used to be located back in the day near the north end of Pleasure Island.

Brian Lewis, the artist behind the new mural, wanted to celebrate the origin of Bop City and its relevance to the dance. The mural depicts Ocean Plaza, which was one of the big dance pavilions in Carolina Beach before being demolished in the 80s.

Malcolm Hicks, also known as “Chicken,” is also featured on the mural for his role in bringing the dance to Carolina Beach.

“The story has it that in the 30s and 40s, the north part of the island was called Bop City because there was always lots of music and there were juke joints. A lot of the kids that lived in Carolina Beach would go up there, listen to the rhythm and blues music, learn the dances and then come back down to the beach and teach their friends how to shag dance,” said Maureen Lewis, the founder of the Carolina Beach Mural Project.

A full map of all of the murals can be found here, which makes for a fun scavenger hunt or scenic walk through town.

If you stand on the sidewalk of Lake Park Boulevard, where the latest mural is, you can see four different murals all at once. In a few weeks, you’ll be able to see a fifth mural once it’s completed. That one will be located on the wall of the Celtic Creamery.