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Editorial: City’s mural initiative invigorates civic pride

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Many things make a community livable and attractive — parks, sidewalks and trails, established neighborhoods and public art.

Greenwood has these, but a community group would like to do more in the last of these areas.

The city already has sculpture on display along the trail paralleling East Smith Valley Road. These works enhance the area for motorists as well as the walkers, joggers and bicyclists who use the trail.

Now, Restore Old Town Greenwood hopes to add murals designed by artists and painted by residents on blank walls. The group is recruiting residents to help with the planning and the painting. 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. Another possible mural location is a bridge on Smith Valley Road.

Restore Old Town Greenwood needs to raise money and recruit volunteers, Fitzpatrick said. The group 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, according to John Jones, the group’s president.

Greenwood previously had a partial mural on a bridge over Smith Valley Road, but the artists didn’t finish the work. Fitzpatrick 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 wants the city to see that the community can complete a mural together before he designs more ambitious projects.

Projects such as these would enhance the community in a variety of ways. Clearly, the murals themselves would be a visual enhancement.

Along with the sculptures, the Southside Art League and the WAMM Fest, the murals would add to Greenwood’s efforts to brand itself as an arts community.

But even more importantly, the grassroots nature of the effort would bolster civic pride and engagement.

For their efforts, we say: Paint on!

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