The Seymour Chamber of Commerce is joining efforts to beautify the downtown and add visual appeal through public art by launching a mural project.
Chamber Director Dan Robison said the chamber plans to commission an artist to paint the mural on the north side of the chamber building at 105 S. Chestnut St.
Built in 1914 and once a farmer’s club, the building has housed the Seymour Chamber of Commerce since 1985.
The mural will provide a colorful and eye-catching backdrop to the former One Chamber Square, a public space that was revitalized and rededicated last year as Burkhart Plaza in memory of former Mayor John Burkhart who died in December 2019 at the age of 80.
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“We couldn’t be more excited to launch this project,” Robison said of the mural. “We want to develop a work of art that enhances our downtown and elevates the experience for those visiting Burkhart Plaza.”
All paint needed for the mural is being donated by Seymour Decorating Center and the chamber is accepting donations from local businesses, organizations, civic groups and members of the community to help fund the project. The budget for the mural is $23,000 with the chamber paying a third, a third coming from grants and a third from donations.
It will be the fourth mural in the downtown with one located on the back of the Community Agency Building, the Seymour mural on the north side of the Edward Jones building along West Tipton Street and the John Mellencamp mural on the east side of the This Old Guitar building on West Second Street.
One of the goals of the mural project is community involvement. Robison said the design of the mural will be created using public input.
A series of community forums are being planned to engage the public by giving people an opportunity to share their ideas and suggestions for the mural and to keep the community updated on the project.
The first meeting will be at 7 p.m. March 31 at Burkhart Plaza.
The chamber has formed a task force of community leaders, stakeholders and art students to provide input and guidance for the project.
Their first action was to develop a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) which was published last week and made available through the Arts Council of Indianapolis and the Indiana Public Art Network.
The RFQ is a call to artists to submit resumes, examples of artwork, a statement of technical experience and a letter of reference. The deadline to submit the information is April 9.
From the submissions, several artists will be chosen by the task force to submit design concepts for the project using the public input from the forums. Design proposals will be due by the middle of June and the project will be awarded in July. Applicants will be judged on artistic style, technical expertise, community engagement and ease of process
“The goal is to have the project completed by the end of September,” Robison said. “At that time, the public will be invited to an unveiling ceremony and celebration.”
Another goal of the project is to create a video documenting the entire mural process from beginning to end. The video will include different perspectives of the mural from interviews with the artist to reactions from the community.
The video will then be made available to all art programs in local schools along with the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts.
“How great would it be for us to spark the interest of a young person in becoming an artist or encouraging their interest to create?” Robison said.
The project aligns perfectly with Seymour Main Street and Seymour Parks and Recreation Department’s goals of adding more murals and public art in the downtown and throughout the city.
“The greatest beauty, though, will be our community coming together to create something we will all be proud of,” Robison said.
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For information or to donate to the Chamber mural project email the chamber at [email protected] or call 812-522-3681.
RFQ submissions should be emailed to the chamber or mailed to Seymour Chamber of Commerce, 105 S. Chestnut St., Seymour, IN 47274.
Building photos, project updates and timelines can be found at seymourchamber.com/chamber-mural-page.