By Brady Extin | The Times-Post
PENDLETON — The intersection of Water Street and Pendleton Avenue in downtown Pendleton has a new look to it.
A $4,000 grant from the Indiana Arts Commission awarded to South Madison Community Foundation allowed for the creation and installation of a series of painted crosswalks at the intersection.
The award, through the IAC Arts Project Support grant program, funded the services of a professional artist who worked with local groups to envision and create designs for each of the four crosswalks.
“The projects and organizations selected to receive funding are strengthening our state,” said Anne Penny Valentine, chairwoman of the Indiana Arts Commission, in a press release. “The Commission is excited and honored to invest in Hoosier communities, supporting organizations that are doing exceptional creative work to make Indiana a great place to live, work, play, study, and stay.”
With the help of professional artist Holly Sims, the four crosswalks at the intersection were designed and painted by representatives of various local groups, including Best Buddies, More Than Conquerors, Pendleton Youth Correctional Facility and Carnegie Learning Center.
Discussions about art, design and ideas that represent their life experiences and their community were formatted by Sims into paintable templates on the streets. Each of the organizations gathered for a one-day “Paintathon” on Tuesday.
Students Michael Sallee, Troy Brigman, Avery Drinkut and Andrew Jarvis were on hand to paint the crosswalk for the Carnegie Learning Center. Their nature-
centric design involved trees, the sun and an Arabian horse.
“We have a lot of things in common, so we went with a common theme,” the group said. “It’s more of an outdoorsy thing, with the sun, some trees and the Arabian horse, which we wanted to include because that’s where we go to school.”
The crosswalk opposite theirs symbolizes incarcerated members of the Pendleton Youth Correctional Facility trying to break out of their “pot.”
“They have metaphors that they have to complete as part of their program, and one of them is about climbing out of a pot,” correctional facility art teacher Sean Killilea said. “When they arrive they’re stuck in a pot, and they have to figure out how to get out of that pot, and what they’re going to do. This symbolizes them climbing out of that pot.”
A green figure represents each incarcerated person and the uniform that they all wear.
“It was originally blue, but they voiced on presentation day that they wanted it to be green because they all look like that, and that’s what they wear,” Killilea said.
Drips of paint in the bottom corner finish off the design.
“The vision for them was for our community here in Pendleton to know that they still exist,” Killilea said. “This is a way for them to have their voices heard.”
The Best Buddies crosswalk is representative of their logo and what they strive to do.
Best Buddies pairs students who have intellectual and developmental disabilities with students who do not have a disability to foster friendships.
Hands reaching out cover the entirety of the crosswalk and symbolize friendship.
The More Than Conquerors crosswalk shows splats of paint, which can also be seen on the organization’s van, along with its logo, a shield.
More Than Conquerors is a Pendleton non-profit organization that offers a free, faith-based afterschool program and summer camp. It also participates in local service projects, such as helping to clean up at Falls Park and helping at the food pantry at Pendleton Community Public Library.
“We tried to take an aspect of each group for each design,” Sims said. “It was incredible getting to meet and work with them all.”
Additional support for the project came from the Town of Pendleton employees, A-V Striping, 3Rivers Federal Credit Union, and South Madison Community School Corp. Transportation Department.
“Art and creativity strengthen the fabric of Indiana’s communities. They promote connection and cohesion, foster the entrepreneurial spirit communities need to thrive, and create the kinds of communities where people want to live,” said Miah Michaelsen, executive director of the Indiana Arts Commission, in a press release. “In every corner of our state, public funding for arts and creativity continually proves to be a high-return investment that improves the quality of life of Hoosiers and drives economic development within our state.”