Ben Long, an internationally acclaimed American painter, grew up in Statesville, North Carolina. In the 1970s the then unknown artist persuaded the priest in charge of two small, rural Episcopal churches in nearby Ashe County to allow him to put frescoes, created by painting on damp plaster, on their walls. The result is a stunning series of biblical scenes, including Mary great with child and the last supper, using local people as models. The frescoes have attracted huge numbers of visitors. Their popularity led Long to paint more frescoes in churches and other buildings throughout western North Carolina, including Charlotte, Crossnore, Montreat, Morganton, Statesville, and Wilkesboro. Those who appreciate this revived art can enjoy them all by following the Benjamin F. Long IV Fresco Trail.