Unity. Creativity. Artistry. These are just a few things that contribute to the creation of a community mural in downtown Vermillion.
Several murals fill the alleyways of downtown Vermillion that share the stories of people all around the community. This summer, the Vermillion Cultural Association will be designing and creating a new mural on the north side of the Coyote Twin Theater.
This mural will be designed and created by people in the community, led by three artists: USD students Inkpa Mani and Elizabeth Skye and USD graduate Reyna Hernandez.
Senior fine arts major Inkpa Mani said this is his first mural project and he is excited to see the final product.
“Getting to make something that isn’t necessarily in galleries or sold but is something that the community gets to experience is really meaningful,” Mani said. “Art that inhabits our spaces and that you can be involved with I think is really meaningful.”
Before painting begins, community members and artists plan what the mural will look like by holding meetings and workshops where people can collect ideas from different perspectives.
“We think it’s important that our public spaces are filled with images and stories that represent the people that live here and the ideas of the people that live in this community,” said Amber Hansen, an assistant fine arts professor who has been part of the community-based mural projects for the last few years. “My hope is to pass on what I’ve learned with other artists and also discovering the different ways artists imagine what it means to gather and collect ideas. I’m sharing what I know and I’m also learning from the leaders.”
For the next few weeks, the Vermillion Cultural Association will hold design workshops for citizens to tell stories, make drawings and continue planning out the new mural.
Mani said right now the artists are simply taking in ideas from the community to see how they want to be represented.
“It’s important to unify some of our spaces,” Mani said. “I think it fosters people to inhabit those spaces and be more comfortable. It adds interest to your own community. It also gives the opportunity to share some of those stories you wouldn’t necessarily hear and it also shows the diversity that the community has to offer.”
Once the design is completed and approved by the community, painting begins. Anybody in the community is welcome to come paint throughout the few days scheduled during the summer.
Hansen said she expects the painting to be complete at the end of the July.
“If anybody is interested in being a part of the design workshops, they’re open to the public,” Hansen. “Any experience with art is welcome. As we say, everybody is an artist. So I’m looking forward to what is created.”