EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Heading to Jacobsville? You're in for a treat.
A colorful new — and huge — work of art now adorns the "gateway" to one of Evansville's poorest communities.
Echo Housing Corp. commissioned a Brazilian artist to create a mural for the wall of 10 W. Indiana St., just west of the McDonalds on North Main Street. To create the painting, muralist Artur Silva put out a call to Jacobsville residents to bring their favorite "textile patterns" from shirts, dresses, bags, blankets, etc.
"I photographed those textile patterns (and) created a composition," Silva said. "For me the process almost starts and ends there. Having the community talking among themselves about the things that they own, objects that they own."
Last week, Silva and volunteers transferred that composition onto the Jacobsville wall, which is visible from the Lloyd Expressway. The painting includes multiple flowers, leaves, plants, patterns and a bird that were all pieces of fabric important to Jacobsville residents.
"I think there is a certain ownership of this project," Silva told the Evansville Courier & Press (http://bit.ly/1pW17gT ). "It's not my project, it's the community's project. There's also a more acute awareness of identity that happens when you are talking about yourself through the objects that are important to you."
Echo and the several other organizations that helped make this project happen hope the mural will spark positive change in Jacobsville by giving the community something to feel proud of and enjoy.
"We are beginning to see many signs of renewal," said Joseph Easley, the Jacobsville Area Community Corp. president. "This project will help provide some identity to a great area while inviting everyone to explore its multiple assets."
The quest to create a mural in Jacobsville began early this year. ECHO partnered with the Jacobsville Area Community Corp., The Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana, and w/purpose, an urban and public design studio.
The groups put out a call in April for artists around the world to submit proposals for a Jacobsville mural. The groups narrowed the applicants down to three finalists, before selecting Silva, a Brazilian-born artist who now lives in Indianapolis.
"My work has so much to do with a certain part of the American experience," Silva said. "And that American experience that I was looking for, to reach, to incorporate into my work is found, at its best, in the Midwest."
The project was funded through Community Development Block Grant money. In addition to a mural, the groups are also designing and building a modern and artistic new bus stop.
Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, http://www.courierpress.com