JEFFERSONVILLE — It may not be an ideal time to start a new job leading a public arts effort, but that hasn’t stopped Emily Dippie from laying out an ambitious 2021 plan.

Dippie, who was hired in December as the Jeffersonville Public Arts administrator, shared her vision with the Jeffersonville City Council last week. It includes adding permanent installations, engaging teenagers and children in the arts and highlighting the contributions of underrepresented artists and creators.

“Of course we are still in COVID reality, so this is going to be dependent upon what the future is holding with the rollout of the vaccine and concerns from the public,” Dippie said.

Titling the 2021 campaign Emerge, the program is a mix of moving past the struggles of 2020 and showcasing the beauty that public art brings to a community.

For permanent installations, Dippie is proposing a set of small sculptures designed as a scavenger hunt of sorts. Dippie said the sculptures can inform people about Jeffersonville while also creating a fun outdoor activity for residents and visitors.

In and around Big Four Station, Dippie is planning a digital gallery consisting of free-standing LCD boards that would highlight digital artists. The boards could also provide information about upcoming events.

Another permanent installation proposed by Dippie is an alleyway mural adjoining the entrance to the NoCo Arts and Cultural District. The mural would don the city’s name, Jeffersonville, to try to encourage people to take photos in front of the painting. Dippie said it’s a theme used in other cities.

Community events are another big part of Dippie’s 2021 plans.

She told the council she hopes the arts district can host several standalone events for local artists, giving them an opportunity to sell their creations and to garner exposure.

Additionally, the 2021 plan calls for classes in which the community can be taught art skills.

Dippie also wants to form a teenage arts council that would organize a youth-focused event involving city officials, artists and community leaders.

“I actually have a teenager in our community who is helping us plan this,” she said.

There are virtual initiatives in the plan including a TikTok competition and a video of local children giving tours of public art installations. Dippie said it’s vital to include younger generations in public arts, as she added they often view creations differently from adults in their own creative ways.

Another online goal for the arts district is to create a Voice of Culture video that would highlight artists who may be unrecognized.

“I think it’s important to give a voice to our minority artists and our culture producers at this time,” Dippie said.

Along with the pandemic, she said the 2021 plans also will be dictated by funding. This year’s plan is based on 2020 appropriations.

But, Dippie added, that even if all of the ideas don’t come to fruition in 2021, they are adaptable and could be added in the future.

Dippie has been praised by city leaders since accepting the job.

“Emily Dippie is the perfect person to continue to make Jeffersonville a better place through creativity,” Mayor Mike Moore said during his state of the city address last week.

“While COVID may have held back some projects last year, Emily is ready to get to work.”

Council President Matt Owen said the plan is an “excellent outlook” for 2021.

“I think it’s pretty ambitious for this season, but hopefully it’s something we can see through,” he said.

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