TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Last year Tippecanoe County leaders took a chance with funding wall art to revitalize Wabash Avenue.
Now the neighborhood is seeing a reward beyond just having nice views. It has inspired the Tippecanoe Arts Federation to continue funding public art projects across the community.
TAF has six new art projects in the works this year starting as early as July. One includes a "Wabash Walls Two." This comes after the success they've seen with the murals in the Wabash Avenue neighborhood.
Wabash Avenue hasn't always held the best reputation in the community but because of the new art murals, neighbors say the neighborhood isn't like it used to be.
“It's been really sweet, it has definitely brought a lot of people out that we haven't seen,” said Wabash Avenue Resident Monica Hainje. “I think it has brought people into the community.”
“People go up and down the street, all the time you see them stop, look and see bewilderment on their face,” said Wabash Avenue Resident Heather Bueno.
“I definitely think our business picked up because of the murals,” said April O’Brien, Sacred Grounds manager. “Especially that first probably two or three months we saw a lot of new faces.”
Tippecanoe Arts Federation Executive Director Tetia Lee said they had a purpose when bringing wall art to the Wabash Avenue area.
“Our project at Wabash walls, that is a traditionally marginalized community,” said Lee. “What we were able to do was work with the residents of the neighborhood and create themes and subject matter for each of the murals that then the artists interpreted.”
Lee said public art can bring many positive effects to a community.
“Removing community blight, increasing safety and security for our area, bringing in job opportunities, having community and economic development,” said Lee.
This push for more public art isn't only to improve the current community but to also make it a place more people would want to live.
“Our goal is to really be seen on an international level as a place that is worth going to as an arts destination,” said Tetia.
TAF is looking to hire local artists to help with future art projects. The organization is hosting a workshop Wednesday, Mar. 13 at Tippecanoe County Public Library, McAllister Room A (627 South Street) for artists interested in doing public art.
It's free for TAF members and $25 for non-members. You can register here.