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Madison Area Arts Alliance to create mural in downtown Madison

Several local artists to contribute their talents

(March 2020) – It’s no secret that Jefferson County, Ind., has experienced many hardships, making headline news more than once for a suicide rate that was 3.2 times the national average in 2016, according to The New York Times. But the local organization, Madison Area Arts Alliance, seeks to show how the beauty of art can transform lives by rallying together with the community of Madison to create a “Kindness Matters” mural in the downtown.
Spanning the length of a 21/2 story commercial building on a south facing wall of the public parking lot at the corner of Mulberry and Second streets, the “Kindness Matters” mural will begin in early March and feature the work of local artist Jane Vonderheide, as well as mural artists Patty Cooper Wells and Eric Phagan. The mural will be comprised of a series of sections, one depicting a large heart with the words “Kindness Matters” and “Madison, Indiana,” and the others featuring a “river of kindness” that will involve the entire community in its creation, according to Kim Nyberg, the organization’s executive director.
“The mural is a way to connect in lots of ways in Madison: people, the arts, what the arts can do to heal and make people feel that they belong,” Nyberg said.

Photo provided

Pictured is a rendition of the future mural that the Madison Area Arts Alliance plans to create on a wall at Mulberry and Second streets in Madison, Ind.

One specific way that the mural will begin connecting people with the arts is through the creation of the mural itself. At least 60 feet of width of the mural is dedicated to an interactive “Splat Painting” experience, whereby individuals in the community can throw paint-filled balloons at the blank wall to create a paint splattered backdrop. Mural artists will then paint words of kindness and inspiration on top of this background to serve as a reminder of the connectedness of each member of the community to one another and of the healing powers of both art and kindness.
Another important aspect of the “Kindness Matters” mural is the location.
“The location is great,” said Nyberg. “Mulberry is an iconic street, a connector from the (Ohio) river to Main Street. The mural will draw attention to a part of town that is so visible from the river.”
That will help make it a great tourist location and also draw people from down by the river up toward the businesses on Main Street, potentially helping to increase sales, according to Nyberg.
In order for it to be long-lasting, vibrant and professional grade like the other murals that make Madison so unique, they are hiring professional mural painters and mail ordering special mural paint. Because of this and the fact that it will get the home of Madison Area Arts Alliance (The SPOT, or Supporting People of Talent) equipped for programming, it will end up costing around $70,000 in total. After three months of working with the crowdfunding site Patronicity, Nyberg said she is confident that the amount will be reached through both tax-deductible donations using Patronicity’s crowdfunding program and a matching grant from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.
“It seems a small thing to offer: some paint on a wall. But we must remember that art has a transformative power not to be underestimated. When used in a positive manner, it can affect ones state of mind for the better,” said muralist Wells. “The Kindness Matters mural will be a dynamic focal point downtown that will lift everyone’s spirits. The mural will be a radiant and colorful statement to everyone of what a kind community we live in. I hope that it may remind people in crisis that there are folks who care.”

• To get involved with the Kindness Matters mural project, stay tuned for the date of the community Splat Painting on the Madison Area Arts Alliance Facebook page and visit www.patronicity.com to make a tax-deductible donation.

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