Dale Earnhardt Jr. mosaic hits the road in Lake Norman

A picture mosaic honoring NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is touring the Lake Norman area to raise money for renovations to the historic Mooresville Depot.

The mural is a smaller version of the Dale Jr. picture mosaic that was created last year with 1,150 pictures of Earnhardt Jr. fans and supporters of the Mooresville Artist Guild. Donations totaled about $10,000, with all proceeds benefiting the guild’s planned renovation of the 1920 train depot at Main Street and West Center Avenue downtown.

The 4-foot-by-6-foot mosaic was auctioned via the Dale Jr. Foundation eBay store for $518, guild Treasurer Leo Gordon said.

The guild will raise more money for renovations by selling $5 raffle tickets for the smaller mosaic – it measures 53 inches by 42 inches – while also giving fans a chance to see the artwork.

“We started getting lots of feedback that people throughout the Lake Norman area were disappointed that they didn’t get to see the completed mural,” Gordon said.

The winning raffle ticket will be drawn May 25, with all proceeds helping repair the roof over Gallery 3, which also doubles as a classroom. Snow and rain collapsed the roof in January, and fixing it will cost $5,600, Gordon said. Renovations to the entire depot will cost about $1 million, guild President Ellen Patterson said.

Gordon said some large foundations have declined to give to the restoration because the town has only a two-year lease on the building with Norfolk Southern. For 25 years, the railway company leased the property to the town for $1 a year but raised that to $15,800 for the two-year lease last year, Gordon said.

Fans can see the mosaic on Wednesday at the Charles Mack Citizen Center, 215 N. Main St.; April 12-14 at Mooresville Public Library, 304 S. Main St.; May 3 at the opening of Langtree Lake Norman, Interstate 77 Exit 31; May 17 at the Race City Festival in downtown Mooresville; and May 20 at the Little 660 race at GoPro Motorplex off Mazeppa Road.