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Looking for the next big picture

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Young mural artists consider ideas for the next downtownmural.Proposals will be posted on Facebook so people can vote for their favorite. Pictured, from left, areLexi Keen, Katelyn Amos, Kate Wallace, Amanda Johnson and Jayde Miller.
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Artist Terry Hreno presented three ideasat the community mural meeting.

By DARRELL SMITH - dsmith@newsexaminer.com

Five proposals for downtown murals will soon be posted on Facebook so the public can vote on which will be painted on a building.

The five ideas came from a brainstorming session led by Discover Connersville, the local Main Street development group. The organization has received a Fayette County Foundation grant to fund the mural. A major component of the grant is that students learn about mural painting.

Five students – Lexi Keen of Connersville High School, Katelyn Amos who attends Purdue University, and Kate Wallace, Amanda Johnson and Jayde Miller of Lincoln High School – answered the call for young artists. They met with mural artist Terry Hreno to learn about the project.

Pictures of mural ideas had been posted on easels at the meeting. The five ideas selected include automobiles produced in Connersville, movie producer Robert E. Wise, industry and the first industrial park, agriculture and a historic block downtown.

The students and Hreno will make initial sketches as they envision each design. Those will be posted by Thursday on the Facebook page, Discover Connersville: An Indiana Main Street Community, for voting. 

After voting is finalized, the artist will make a cartoon, which is a scale drawing of the mural, Hreno said. It will have a grid to aid in laying out a drawing of the mural on the wall.

Sharon McQueen, Discover Connersville executive director, said at least six property owners have given approval for murals to be painted on their buildings.

In addition to these five ideas, Discover Connersville would like to fund murals of past residents who gained fame or made important contributions. 

Dwain Robinson of Robinson’s Whitewater Campground, had previously contacted Hreno about placing a mural on the side of the former Fire Station 3 on West 18th Street. After purchasing the rundown building and making repairs, his vision is a mural on the building’s east side to mirror the Whitewater Canal that ran next to it.

The owner of a downtown building has asked about placing a mural of Connersville native Brace Beemer on that building, Hreno said. Beemer was the first radio voice of the Lone Ranger.

Miller said the reason she is involved is to follow in the footsteps of her mother, who painted murals inside the Whitewater Career Center. They have since been covered.

Keen has done giant paintings previously and that sparked her interest in doing murals. 

Johnson grew up near Battle Creek, Mich., and said that city has murals on several buildings that inspired her.

“I thought that one day I really wanted to do a mural on my own,” she said. “I want to do an artistic, colorful one.”

Wallace, who took first prize in the Whitewater Valley Arts Association high school competition in 2017, said art education is her goal.