It Takes a Village

Exterior murals provide an opportunity to make a big statement that affects how a neighborhood feels. I’ve been lucky to have done several murals in local schools and health centers, as well as the one on the side of what is now Old Town General Store. This one needs some refreshing, so we’re gathering the resources to do the project in summer, 2020.

Rhea VanAtta, owner of Old Town General Store is coordinating the effort, finding funding and volunteers. Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center is helping with the volunteer effort by working with Peckham Industries.

The plan for the image is not to do something completely different, but to still have a natural image that can work in all seasons. We’re adding new touches that speak of Michigan and Old Town.

Doing a community art project has its hurdles. Not everyone is great with a paintbrush. There needs to be some element of control over the final image but painting it should be fun for everyone. We had a great time creating the first mural. Many people can say they had a hand in creating something bigger than themselves, putting their stamp on Old Town in a lasting way. The process we’ll use again is to start with outlines that I’ll get in place before the volunteer crews arrive. I’ll put a dab of color in each space, indicating what color should be used to fill that area, so people don’t have to ask…they can just look for the color match. We’ll use the actual building color in the image to tie the building and image together.

So, we have a person with vision, a person who can get the concept on paper/wall, and people to gather people who will do the painting and do something positive for the community. That process creates a sense of community and makes our village stronger.

To learn more about the project, check out this video:

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