Student help on downtown art benefits community

Hands-on learning benefits students at all levels, and some at Ivy Tech Community College Columbus and a few in high school are gaining valuable experience by participating in a couple of community projects.

Friendship Alley — also known as Friendship Way — in the 400 block of Washington Street is getting a face lift thanks to School of Art + Design students and some high school students chosen for a special summer camp at Ivy Tech. In a bicentennial project, they are expanding and adding public art to the paver-lined walkway, originally dedicated in 1998 as a public art area. The idea is to spruce up and give new life to the alley by adding bright murals that tie into the city’s architectural heritage.

The students will produce 20 to 30 design concepts for the alley wall. They will be presented July 20 at Columbus City Hall and the public can vote on their favorites before a selection committee chooses the winner.

The unveiling is expected during the Sept. 18 bicentennial event in downtown Columbus, and the students’ efforts should make the unique and popular walkway shine even more.

Another project involving Ivy Tech students is one that will have them documenting this year’s Bartholomew County 4-H Fair through photos that will be published as a limited-edition book.

Indianapolis photographer Harold L. Miller, who previously published a book celebrating the culture of Indiana’s county fairs, will take photos at this year’s Bartholomew County 4-H Fair, which begins Friday and runs through July 16. Design students will design the book “Fair Culture Bartholomew County.” English students will write the text that will accompany the photos.

It’s encouraging to see local students being asked to participate in important projects such as these. It shows a level of trust in them. And not only are they contributing their ideas and talents to projects that will highlight and benefit the community, but they also are gaining a sense of ownership in the community that is likely to encourage them to contribute in other ways in the future.