Shoppers will have plenty to digest in the café area of the new Kroger Marketplace opening at 3060 N. National Road in Columbus.

That will include local painter Allison Horner’s oversized acrylic image “Columbus: The Community of Thoughtful Play.”

The artwork will highlight elements of the area’s architecture, including the Large Arch sculpture, the Bartholomew County Public Library, First Baptist Church and the structure at 301 Washington St. housing the late architecture aficionado J. Irwin Miller’s office.

“I’ve kind of been looking for little ‘secrets’ of these buildings (and sculptures),” Horner said of her commission.

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As perfect timing would have it, the Ivy Tech Community College Columbus adjunct instructor currently is teaching a summer course in mural making while she completes her mural-like project she began two weeks ago. A local panel recently chose her for the Kroger project.

“I feel really honored to be exhibiting in a city that has this really rich architectural and art landscape,” she said of her effort being completed in Ivy Tech’s studio space before it is moved. “I feel like I’m participating in that dialogue that’s been going on for over 70 years now.”

She indirectly referred to late Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen’s completion of First Christian Church in 1942, launching the city’s love affair and Miller’s promotion and push for top-notch Modern architecture in the small, Midwestern town.

Miller and other architecture-related greats, including Columbus library designer I.M. Pei, will be seen in the bottom left of Horner’s work, almost watching over local landmarks.

“I think what seems to make people most happy is how colorful it is right now, even though it’s still in process,” she said. “It has almost a whimsical treatment to it.”

Horner earned her bachelor’s of fine arts with distinction from the Savannah College of Art & Design in 2011. She moved from her native Ohio to Columbus, where her grandparents live, in 2013. She had visited Columbus since her childhood.

“I already was pretty familiar with the city,” she said. “And once I moved back, I learned a lot more about how special this city is and how different it is from other Indiana towns.”

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.