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Artwork planned for city spaces

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A Greenwood group is recruiting residents to help plan and paint trees, flowers and historic buildings onto blank walls — possibly including a city storage building and a bridge.

By the end of the summer, Restore Old Town Greenwood hopes to add murals designed by artists and painted by residents.

The organization is asking a Greenwood teacher, Girl Scouts who can earn merit badges and any interested residents to help. Kevin Fitzpatrick, a former Greenwood resident and a freelance illustrator and graphic designer, has volunteered to work with artist Molly Tobin to design the murals.

The locations of the murals could include a long, white storage building and garage on Machledt Drive across from the Greenwood Public Library. That city-owned building, which neighbors the Mrs. Curl ice cream shop, would be visible to families headed to the library, going to buy an ice cream cone or playing at Old City Park, Restore Old Town Greenwood President John Jones said.

Another possible mural location is a bridge on Smith Valley Road.

Restore Old Town Greenwood needs to raise money and recruit volunteers, Fitzpatrick said. Tobin and Fitzpatrick are among the first volunteers. Restore Old Town Greenwood would need to raise about $500 to pay for supplies, such as brushes, paint pans and paint, if the organization can’t find a business willing to donate them, Jones said.

Greenwood previously had a partial mural on a bridge over Smith Valley Road, but the artists didn’t finish the work, Fitzpatrick said. Prior to that, he can’t remember the city having any murals besides advertisements for businesses, he said.

Restore Old Town Greenwood will tackle a small mural project, such as on the side of a building, before attempting to repaint something as large as the Smith Valley Road bridge, he said. He wants the city to see that the community can complete a mural together before he designs more ambitious projects, he said.

Fitzpatrick has painted two murals, including one in Indianapolis near Fountain Square.

Fitzpatrick and Tobin will sketch pictures they think will fit on the side of a building or other blank space, and then Restore Old Town Greenwood board members will choose the design they like best.

For a building wall near the library and Old City Park, Fitzpatrick envisions a mural that is sports- and education-themed, which incorporates images of flying books and Little Free Library boxes into the design, he said.

The Greenwood projects would be Tobin’s first murals, and she wants them to somehow reflect the city’s motto of “Pride and Progress.” The old city building and the freshly renovated city hall could represent the city’s progress in a painting, she said.

Tobin said she wants Greenwood residents to have an arts culture that anyone can participate in, with art they can help create together.

“I really want people to feel like we have our own modern, kind of fun cultural environment that people can enjoy,” she said.

Restore Old Town Greenwood’s goal is to get more pedestrians walking through Old Town, and art could be a draw, Jones said. The art could include murals on walls and bridges and storefronts painted for Greenwood-A-Glow, the community Christmas party.

The organization works to improve downtown through efforts to make the city safer, such as by requesting repairs to sidewalks and crosswalks, and also to make it more beautiful. So far, beautifying Old Town has included community cleanup days and applying for grants to repair the façades of old buildings.

Volunteers, such as Tobin, who is an Old Town resident, are planning the murals so that residents can help paint them. If the projects are outlined paint-by-number style on a wall, then any volunteers, including Girl Scout troops, could help paint a section, Jones said.

“That way, those of us who can’t even draw a stick figure to save their life, like myself, can participate,” he said.

The mural designs should be simple enough that 45 or 50 volunteers can complete them in one day, Fitzpatrick said.

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