Painting in a big way

By Greg Seiter

It has been said that art brings people together, and that’s precisely what the Johnson County Community Foundation is trying to do with its Color the County mural program, now in its fourth year.

The initiative, which unites professional artists, aspiring artists and members of the community in a collaborative effort to create murals on buildings and structures that are easily seen by pedestrians and motorists, will focus on two specific areas this year — Richard’s Brick Oven Pizza (south-facing façade) at 249 S. Main St. in Franklin and the west-facing façade of Indian Creek

Learning Center, 800 S. Indian Creek Drive, Trafalgar. This will be the foundation’s first mural in the Trafalgar area.

The JCCF launched the countywide mural program in 2016 to celebrate its 25th anniversary. “The board wanted to do something that would make a splash, so we did some research and came up with the mural program,” says Kim Minton, JCCF vice president of development. “It’s something that is community driven and also supports local artists.”

That first year, murals were painted in Greenwood, Franklin and Bargersville. “We didn’t know what to expect but hundreds of people showed up,” Minton says.

The number of submitted mural designs from artists, which are reviewed by volunteer committee members who ultimately select the winners, has also steadily increased. “We had approximately 10 submissions in 2016, but last year we had something like 30 entries to choose from. And they don’t all come from around here,” Minton says. “We’re grabbing attention from outside communities as well.”

“This program gives everyone an opportunity to share art with the community for years to come, and it allows young, aspiring artists to begin something and continue their creative spirit,” she says. “Sometimes, for whatever reason, people are scared of art. But now, they see this program, understand its purpose and embrace it. This is something people can get behind and support together because they can see the benefit it adds to the community.”