COVINGTON, Ind. — As colorful and symbolic murals took shape this week on the Fountain County Square, some Covington residents didn’t realize the space was even there.
A fence was removed in front of the grassy area where a long gone building once stood on the north side of the square, between CentreBank and Dale’s Barbershop, for this unique mural project.
The former gray wall on the Dale’s Barbershop building now has a bright sunset, large orange and black monarch butterflies, milkweeds and apple blossom leaves, the Wabash River and also stairs to represent progression.
The mural symbolizes tradition, the local apple orchard, progressiveness and door to opportunity among other things.
“It represents Covington. It’s very abstract,” said project core committee member Amanda Strawser. Other Covington committee members included Stephanie Lober and Nancy Wagner, Regional Arts Council — Fountain County representative.
On the other side, CentreBank’s once plain wall also depicts the Wabash River, stairs and orange sun colors, and largely features hands holding apple blossoms, with an Americana quilt pattern.
“I like the butterflies,” said Bradi Short, 6, who was viewing the in-progress murals earlier this week with her mother, Mandy.
The professional mural artist is Nicole Salgar from Miami, Fla., who used brushes and spray paint to create the murals.
Strawser, Fountain County Wabash Heartland Innovative Network (WHIN) Walls core committee member, said other murals are being painted in Attica, Ind., and Veedersburg, Ind.
WHIN provided $10,000 for each of the 10 counties that compose the Tippecanoe Arts Federation for this wall mural project. This money was divided up, and Covington’s core committee is working to raise $7,000 — $5,000 to make up the difference for the cost of the mural and $2,000 for the additional mural.
The artist fee is $12,000, and the committee also arranged housing, transportation, food and rental of equipment for Salgar.
The dedication of all three Fountain County murals (Attica’s location is the Pizza King wall and in Veedersburg the mural is on the north wall of the Community Corrections building) will begin at 6:30 p.m. EDT Friday. In Covington, the dedication is open to the public and there will be live music, food trucks, children’s art activities including chalk art and face painting, a farmer’s market and local businesses were encouraged to stay open later.
The green space owned by Centre Bank between the murals will become Centrepark, a pocket park, with tables and chairs.
The Covington Core Committee provided Salgar with words to describe the county and community as inspiration for the murals.
Salgar started work on the murals July 15, but was met with rainy weather to start.
Community members also were invited to pitch in to help paint.
One of those helping this week was Linda McLain with Windy Ridge Winery, which has a tasting room a couple doors down from the murals.
McLain was painting part of the Wabash River, and said she enjoyed using her “artsy” side and being a part of it.
Salgar worked 12-14 hour days on the murals.
She said she started painting murals in 2012 and started her business in 2015.
Salgar said the murals tell stories, such as the quilt image also representing people telling stories through quilts.
She hopes the murals have impacts in the community, such as inspiring young people to create art.
Strawser said the mural project removes blight, creates a tourist destination and provides community pride.
She and Wagner said it will be a nice resting area where people can view and take photos of the beautiful murals.