By: Sherri Contos—
MUNCIE—Muncie Arts and Culture Council, with the support of local building owners, has installed two prominent works of art on buildings in downtown Muncie.
Large-scale, all-weather, temporary banners display reproductions of famous portraits and paintings, turning the sides of downtown buildings into art installations and conversation pieces. Frank Petty, a downtown property developer, owner, and Ball State graduate, was a key visionary behind the project who worked closely with the Muncie Arts and Culture Council to bring the project to life. The project was initiated nearly a year ago, with inspiration drawn from a similar effort in Traverse City, Michigan where Petty resides.
“As Muncie Arts and Culture Council works to expand public art in the city, this project was a perfect fit. These pieces of art are not only highly visible, but they also recognize Hoosiers who have helped to shape our city and state,” said Sherri Contos, Executive Director of Muncie Arts and Culture Council. “As downtown Muncie’s revitalization efforts take hold and as downtown continues to become an even better destination, we’re entering an exciting new era for the city. Public art plays a critical role in vibrant communities, and this new initiative is an exciting step to continue these efforts in downtown.”
Mural locations include the Star Bank Plaza building at 400 N. High Street and the Ball Associates Building at 222 S. Mulberry Street. Featured on the works is a painting by legendary Indiana artist J. Otis Adams as well as a portrait of the five Ball brothers, both from the Minnetrista Heritage Collection.
Support for the effort and use of exterior wall space was provided by local building owners, including Frank Petty. “These works of art are essentially turning downtown buildings into temporary outdoor art galleries. I am excited about the future of Muncie’s downtown, and I hope these first two installations will help serve as a spark to help MACC identify additional buildings and works of art to expand this effort,” stated Petty.
The Muncie community has a long tradition of supporting public art, a history which stretches back to the days of the Indiana Gas Boom. The efforts of private citizens, nonprofit organizations, religious groups, and government entities have contributed to a rich base of public art in the city. Continued efforts by groups like the Muncie Arts and Culture Council, with assistance from MACC’s Muncie Public Arts Committee, are further developing this base.
Sherri Contos is Executive Director, Muncie Arts & Culture Council