- Associated Press - Monday, August 11, 2014

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) - A new public arts group is rounding up the help from several local initiatives in its push to make Jeffersonville a more art-friendly community.

City Canvas is made up of the Public Arts Commission, the Jeffersonville Arts Alliance, the city and Louisville-based The MAMMOTH Creative Art Service, and will work on six public art projects by the end of 2016.

“It’s our intention to set this up so it’s flexible and it allows for lots of groups and organizations to be involved and to partner and to do projects,” said The MAMMOTH co-owner Hallie Jones.

City councilman and public arts commissioner Nathan Samuel said City Canvas all started in 2012 when a group proposed a study of reception to public art in Jeffersonville.

The Public Arts Commission then was created to identify existing art, potential locations and to “take the pulse of the community” on art, Samuel told the News and Tribune (https://bit.ly/1A7FXAP ).

The group submitted its findings to the mayor and council.

“Absolutely this community is ready for art,” he said of the report. “And we’re already doing it.”

The commission’s first project was called “power creativity,” or painted utility boxes around downtown.

“I think that really grabbed folks’ attention,” Samuel said.

The group decided it needed a little bit more help, so it hired The MAMMOTH to help with organizational and technical details.

“We wanted to do some larger projects but we weren’t really sure how to go about doing them and the process, how to get the public involved,” said Planning and Zoning Director and art commissioner Shane Corbin.

The first of those larger projects is called “On the Berm: It All Started with an Idea!,” which will be a large sculpture on green space at 10th and Mechanic streets.

City Canvas called for designs from artists in the community, narrowing the entries down to three possibilities.

“We want to make sure to start off with this project and our push for Jeffersonville to be very collaborative and the best that we could be,” Samuel said.

The entries are called “Jeff,” a series of red running figures; “22CONNECT,” a red sculpture with 22 interconnected triangles; and “The Jeffersonville Shellmound,” a series of life-size oyster shells that light up.

“I’m fired up about the berm,” Samuel said. “That’s a neat thing that I think will get a lot of attention.”

The Public Arts Commission is also working a several other projects, including sculptural bike racks, benches and crosswalks.

“There’s a lot going on,” Jones said. “Jeffersonville is about to have a public arts explosion.”

Jones said that City Canvas was also hired to create a master plan for public art that the city can use as a road map in the future.

The plan will dictate technical specifications such as maintenance of art and payment plans to artists.

“It’s not sexy, but it has to be done,” Jones said.

From her perspective, she said the perception to public art in Jeffersonville has been “really fantastic.”

“The residents in this community seem to be really engaged,” she said. “They want public art. And they don’t want public art happening slowly. They want it now. They want it last week.”


Information from: News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind., https://www.newsandtribune.com

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