- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 30, 2014

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) - Community artists and economic development officials want to bring life to a dark, forgotten alley in downtown Kokomo.

They envision an outdoor art gallery open 24 hours a day, and they hope to bring that vision to life by the first Friday in August.

They’re all working together on the project they’ve called Artist Alley. They want to revitalize the alley just north of Artworks Gallery, taking it from drab to fab in just more than three months.

Kokomo Art Association President Cheryl Sullivan shared a conceptual drawing for the project that depicts a tapestry of lights strung from the roof of Artworks Gallery to the roof of the Howard County Administration Center, on the other side of the alley, creating a well-lit ceiling for the new art space.

The side of the county building is punctuated by columns that form eight separate “art windows” where pieces created by local artists will hang for all to see.

Spotlights inside each “window” illuminate the work.

The conceptual drawing also shows plants and benches that will make the space more inviting.

Artworks Gallery has plans to add outlets to the side of its building to create stations in the alley where artists can demonstrate their craft. An artist could sit at a potter’s wheel and create, or a craftsman could carve wood pieces as people watch and learn.

Some of those pieces then could become a part of the gallery.

Sullivan told the Kokomo Tribune (http://bit.ly/R2TUhQ ) that Duke Energy already donated several of its giant wire spools that will serve as pedestals to display sculptures.

Those spools will help set the tone for the gallery, Sullivan said.

“We’re trying to keep the industrial feel of our community,” she said.

Of course, none of this is set in stone yet. The Artist Alley Committee is working with city and county officials to get approval for each of the elements.

Susan Alexander, business growth facilitator for the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, said Howard County and the city of Kokomo have been supportive of the project from the beginning.

Creating these kinds of public spaces can be beneficial for governments looking to attract new business.

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