Town staff and community members recently celebrated the installation of the first public art display in Zionsville Town Hall.
The piece called “Visual Melody” was designed and created by Susan Tennant and brightens up the front lobby.
Tennant was selected by a Town Hall Art Task Force made up of Zionsville artists and businesses as they worked closely with the Arts Council of Indianapolis in choosing the special piece.
Tennant said the sculpture was meant to represent Zionsville services and people using the Big-4 Rail Trail. The piece is made of fiberglass and wooden shapes to create dimension and stands in a 3-D piece from the wall.
“My intention was to create an artwork that would uniquely represent the energetic system and association of the Zionsville Town services and nearby Big-4 Rail Trail,” she said. “Something that visitors and employees would find interesting, playful and entice conversation.”
Work also is finished on another art project.
The Zionsville Cultural District commissioned Koda Witsken, Indiana artist and owner of Hue Murals and Studio in Indianapolis, to design and install a mural of Abraham Lincoln, facing Lincoln Park.
The face of Lincoln is colorful, using abstract and cubism, with the Zionsville name in bold across the bottom.
The 266-square foot mural is displayed on the back of the building at 98 Main St. The back of this building faces First Street and is a prominent location within the downtown village district.
Witsken grew up in Hamilton County, graduated from Purdue University and, after a few years on the East Coast and the West Coast, found herself back in Indiana.
“I moved back this year to do this full time and really focus on art in Indiana,” Witsken said. “I decided my home state was where I needed to be,and I wanted to bring what I was most passionate about to the people I’m most passionate about.”
While she enjoys art ranging from custom canvas to three-story warehouses, murals are her favorite because she says more people get to enjoy them.
“The ZCD specifically wanted Lincoln here by Lincoln Park,” Witsken said. “Zionsville is such an interesting, historic and nostalgic town and they didn’t want something overtly loud and proud without being true to who they were. This is a nice balance of that.”
ZCD Board president Carla Howie said they’re thankful for the support received from the Town of Zionsville.
“This mural was chosen to honor the park and its significance to the community while providing an obvious visual impact for all to enjoy,” Howie added.
Bringing art into the community is important for a variety of reasons, and Zionsville Mayor Tim Haak anticipates more pieces popping up around town in the near future.
“In partnership with the Zionsville Cultural District, this is our first commissioned mural in downtown Zionsville and will be a great addition to the vibrancy that already exists in Zionsville,” Haak said. “This is just the start. We’re ready to do more unique art projects in the coming years.”
Witsken is enjoying the increase of Indiana towns promoting art within their communities. She already knows of another town — Cumberland — preparing to design a 360-degree mural on the underpass by Buck Creek Trail.
“If I put on my government hat for a second, I’ve had conversations with Indiana Chief of Staff and people that really care about the economic development of the state,” she said. “One of our problems is that people visit, but they aren’t staying. We have a job deficit, so the more we can make spaces inviting and get the community involved in art and places really thrive, it’ll help the economic state of Indiana.
“Also, I think it’s a great way to give people something to look forward to. We have such a great history, so much to tell the world. I don’t think a lot of people know the Indiana story. How many know that Lincoln was standing right there giving an address?”
While residents and visitors stopped by on a regular basis, checking in on Witsken’s progress of the Lincoln mural and asking questions, she said the only downfall is the mural was just far enough off the ground that they couldn’t ask the community to help for safety reasons.
“I would prefer for people to be able to come out and paint a little bit and be a part of it,” she said. “The ZCD is hoping to do a series of murals with funding, so maybe next time.”
Funding for the project was provided by the Town of Zionsville. Sherwin Williams donated the paint and supplies for the project.
The project should be complete in mid to late June.