Local high school and Ivy Tech Community College students are working to create a library mural at Northside Middle School to showcase elements of Exhibit Columbus.

The project is a joint effort between Columbus Area Career Connection teacher Robin Cain and R. Lloyd Brooks, program chair of visual communication at Ivy Tech, that began last semester.

Cain and Brooks decided to team up to plan the student-driven mural after being awarded a Welcoming Community grant through Heritage Fund — the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County.

The 210-foot mural featuring 120 different designs representing Exhibit Columbus installations is expected to be in place sometime in May. It will feature an array of different color schemes once it is put together, Brooks said.

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The Heritage Fund grant, estimated to be about $2,500, is being used to purchase materials for the project.

“It will add some color and inspiration in the library,” Brooks said.

Students in Brooks’ fundamentals of design class, along with Cain’s students in interactive media, toured several Exhibit Columbus installations that were in place last summer. That was designed to help students develop ideas about colors and other aspects of the mural, Cain said.

Jessica Whitaker, an Ivy Tech freshman studying graphic design, has been involved in creating some designs for the mural as part of her work in Brooks’ class.

Whitaker said she initially came up with some sketches and hopes the library mural will be memorable.

“Architecture is a big part of Columbus,” she said. “I want them to take away the beauty of the city.”

Brooks said he hopes the mural will have an impact.

“Our objective was to do something that was lasting for the community,” Brooks said.

Brooks’ students also are creating a mural outside a new restaurant set to open in downtown Columbus with a focus on vegetarian and gluten-free menu items. Fresh Take Kitchen at 424 Washington St. is a joint venture between Steve Leach, owner of the Garage Pub & Grill, and Kurt Schwarze, co-owner of Fourth Street Bar & Grill.

The outside art in the courtyard at Fresh Take Kitchen will feature the faces of different individuals reflecting Columbus’ diversity, Brooks said. Ivy Tech design and photography students are doing that project, expected to be completed in about a month.

Brooks said the hands-on projects are designed to give students real-world exposure in working in design and production.

“The more we get students engaged in the community, the more serious they are in their work,” Brooks said. “It gives them a real idea of what they can do.”

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com