JEFFERSONVILLE — An upcoming public art event in Jeffersonville is aimed at tying together some of the city’s amenities and connecting the community with the nature of the area.
From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 19, the Jeffersonville Public Art Commission will host the painting of the NoCo Mural Mile, a 15-panel sidewalk painting stretching from the Big 4 Bridge to the NoCo Arts and Cultural District along Michigan Avenue.
The event will include an art market, games, button-making, face-painting and free tours of the new Vintage Fire Museum location and the NoCo Arts Center. It’s made possible through a $4,000 grant from the Indiana Public Art Commission with volunteers staffed by Metro United Way.
The design was created by Southern Indiana-based artist Cheryl Ulrich-Barnett and will be painted by community volunteers using stencils and pre-mixed paint. Jeffersonville Public Art Administrator Emily Dippie said that as of Wednesday morning, more than 300 people had registered to help and more are welcome to participate or watch.
“We were originally optimistically hoping for 75 people to come and paint and then when we put that on Facebook and explained the project to people, we got this really incredible response,” Dippie said.
She said the idea started because she and others in the public arts commission were looking for a way to connect the bridge with the nearby arts district in a fun and beautiful way.
Involving the public would strengthen their connection and ownership to the city.
“I think it’s really important to involve the community in shaping the aesthetics of their community so I [said] ‘if we’re going to put murals on it, what if we brought the community together and had them do it?’”
The mural, which will cover 1,800 linear feet, will start just outside Pearl Street Treats and end in front of the arts district. Featuring local animals and plants found near the river like box turtles, herons, native plants and the pollinators that help them grow, Dippie said she hopes it can educate on how the area’s nature is all connected. At the end of the path, visitors can see the flowers in a garden at the arts center.
“So as you walk down the path, you’ll get to see the celebration of native river-dwelling creatures, pollinators that are so integral to our environmental flourishing and all these plants...at the end of the path you can actually see how they’re benefiting and flourishing in our environment,” she said.
“The design Cheryl has created is this breath-taking piece.”
Ulrich-Barnett, who also has a passion for gardening and growing things, said she jumped at the opportunity to tie in some of her favorite things in a way that would benefit the community.
“My main goal was to create something very engaging that would hold people’s attention,” she said. “That they would have to take a few minutes and kind of explore each panel. Each panel tells another piece of that cohesive story, of caring for nature.
“It was, for me, just a nice combination of everything I value and find important.”
She also said it was important to help develop this respect for nature in children visiting the area.
“We all know that if we don’t bring that enthusiasm to the younger generation, it just starts getting lost,” she said.