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  • Writer's pictureFifth Street

A Unique Piece of Art With an Unusual Canvas

There is a new piece of artwork on the streets of Pendleton.

Holly Sims, a local artist and assistant professor of visual communication and design at Anderson University, worked with the South Madison Community Foundation to create a public symbol of unity, inclusivity and personal expression on a crosswalk in downtown Pendleton.

Sims worked with four separate groups to gather ideas and create the unique design. These groups included Best Buddies, Carnegie Learning Center, More Than Conquerors, and the Pendleton Youth Correctional Facility.

Collaborating with each group individually, Sims obtained a grasp on what concepts and ideas they wanted to convey through the piece.

Best Buddies wanted their portion of the mural to represent friendship which resulted in a depiction of hands. The young men from the Carnegie Learning Center wanted their part of the design to depict nature as a representation of their longing to be outdoors. More Than Conquerors choose to represent their organization, which ended up being the paint splatters that are on their van. Finally, the youth from the Pendleton Youth Correctional Facility wanted their part of the mural to represent “climbing out the pot,” according to Sims, which resulted in a depiction of a faceless man climbing up what appears to be a mountain.

Sims spoke about her experience with the project and the kids she worked with. The highlight of the experience for her, she expressed, was working with the youth from the correctional facility.

“It was amazing. They were all engaged, they were all polite, it was such a great experience” Sims explained. “It blew out my preconceived ideas of what it would be like to work with incarcerated students.”

Sims valued her experience with the juveniles from the correctional facility so greatly that she even recommends others to jump at the chance to get involved if given the opportunity.

“It was a very safe environment and I really loved working there,” Sims stated. “I highly encourage college-age young men to get involved.”

Many volunteers showed up on Sept. 5 to work together in painting the mural on the crosswalk. The mural took about nine hours to complete, but Sims shared it was all worth it when it was finally finished. The project gave these groups a voice in a small, yet impactful and meaningful way.

A mural like this was a unique way to bring people together and show that everyone deserves to be seen and heard. This piece of local representation is at the intersection of Water Street and Pendleton Ave. for a very long time, and can be a reminder of unity, inclusion, togetherness and beauty to those who cross.

Anna Robinson is a junior from Louisville, Kentucky, majoring in Spanish and public relations. Robinson is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, a student-run public relations agency at Anderson University.


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