Ivy Tech School of Art and Design students will learn Monday which of their mural designs will brighten the area leading into the Jackson Street Garage just in time for county residents to celebrate the state’s bicentennial.

Twenty designs from the college students and an additional four from a group of high school students who participated in a summer camp program at the college, were unveiled Wednesday at Columbus City Hall. The designs are part of the Urban Walls Project for course participants, who wore T-shirts with the name at the presentation.

Community members who attended were asked to vote for their favorite design by placing a dot below their choice on large display boards around the room. The students stood near their murals for more than an hour, answering questions and explaining the thought process and ideas behind their design.

Design student Alexander Mbaye, who is originally from Senegal, had about 10 votes for his mural, “Modernism and Historical Influences.” Mbaye said he hoped his design would show how art travels through history and from different parts of the world and can be found reflected in Columbus and its architecture.

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“European movements from Swiss design to Bauhaus influenced the thinking and design disciplines of many of the architects and designers who shaped Columbus,” Mbaye wrote of his creation. “The subtle progression of these movements are reflected in the many tones of this design.”

Taking into considering the public votes, a mural review committee made up of downtown business owners, artists, public officials, tourism officials and others are expected to select a winner today, with the results announced Monday.

The winning design will then be recreated on the wall that leads into the Jackson parking garage, an area that is an extension of the downtown’s Friendship Alley, said R. Lloyd Brooks, program chair for visual communications at Ivy Tech.

Previous large projects that Ivy Tech graphic design students have worked on include the State Street redevelopment project, the bicentennial banners which hang downtown and materials for the city’s new BikeShare program.

Landmark Columbus’ Richard McCoy worked with the Urban Walls Project students earlier this summer to help them learn more about Columbus’ architectural heritage.

Student designs for the mural ranged from the abstract — such as incorporating shapes from some of the city’s architectural gems — to the literal, with a series of icons highlighting a timeline of the history of Columbus.

Warrie Dennis tied her “Walking Path” design into Friendship Alley’s connection to Columbus’ sister city in Japan, Miyoshi.

The sister city donated the brick pavers and neon sculpture in the outside portion of the alley — and Dennis’ design of a garden scene reminds viewers of the garden feel and Japanese touches that are part of the alley. Along with a glimpse of the past, Dennis said her design also would remind those who pass by the mural to take a piece of Columbus with them wherever they go.

In Madeson Shehan’s “Freedom of Expression” mural, the whimsical “Crack the Whip” bronze sculpture of four children playing is splashed across some of Columbus’ best-known public art and architecture. Shehan, who will be a senior at Columbus East this fall, said her design was about the sense of community that Columbus has based on its art and architecture.

Joshua Stockdale, one of the Ivy Tech students, had two murals in the event, the only student with more than one entry.

Stockdale also used the “Crack the Whip” sculpture in his “Come Together” mural as an expression of the community feel of Columbus.

“People go out and take care of those sculptures,” he said of the seasonal changes, which have involved stocking hats on the bronze heads in the winter and Easter baskets being carried in the spring. “If anything says community, that does.”

The mural effort, which is a Bicentennial Legacy project for the state, is far more than just painting a wall, Brooks said. He told the group he envisioned this project would follow Columbus’ way of doing things in a courageous and undaunted way.

An artist’s rendition of how the space will look with the mural shows the familiar Friendship Alley pavers extending the alley walkway into the garage space, with a mural covering one wall. Along the other wall will be LED lighting behind metal chain link to illuminate the now-dark space. The updated Dancing C bike racks, popular throughout Columbus, will line the side with the lighting. Finally, the passageway will be spruced up with new white ceiling paint.

Mayor Jim Lienhoop praised Brooks and the students for their willingness to volunteer their time and talent on the mural project.

Although the class that produced the murals is an eight-week summer course, the students have volunteered their time in August and September to see the project through and finish it before the Sept. 18 bicentennial torch run through Columbus. They will paint the mural, with the help of community volunteers, as part of the project, Brooks said.

“We have a lot more talent here than we realize,” Lienhoop said. “We want to use that to enhance our community.”

What's next

A committee made up of downtown business owners, community leaders and others will winnow down the mural entries to a single winner today, with the announcement being made Monday.

Although the summer design course that encompassed the mural creation has been completed, the Ivy Tech Community College students in the course are volunteering their time to create the mural in the Jackson Street Garage entryway, along with most of the high school students who were in a summer camp at Ivy Tech and worked on mural design.

The winning mural is expected to be completed by Sept. 18 when the Bicentennial torch run passes through Columbus.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.