Group planning mural on Goshen’s north side

A group of organizations and individuals are working together to put a mural on a concrete wall along Middlebury St. in Goshen.

Posted on Feb. 3, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

GOSHEN — A concrete wall along a stretch of Middlebury Street in Goshen will likely get a splash of color this summer.

Several organizations are working together to paint a mural on the white facade.

Julia King, LaCasa neighborhood outreach coordinator, said the idea came out of a NeighborWorks America Community Leadership Institute conference a group of Goshen residents attended through LaCasa last fall.

“The Goshen team came up with the idea of painting this mural on Middlebury Street because another mural that had been there for years had deteriorated and was marked with graffiti,” King wrote in an email. “The City was forced to paint over the wall, leaving a dreary stretch of gray instead of the public art to which they had grown accustomed.”

A project team, including representatives of Chamberlain and Northside neighborhoods, the Boys and Girls Club of Goshen and other area groups, is fundraising until mid-Spring. King said they hope to actually complete the mural in late summer or early fall.

Len Harms, project team leader, said that the mural is still in design phase, but will be called “Elements,” exploring both elements of art and of community.

The mural will be divided into three sections, he said. One will highlight water, because of local waterways and their places in Goshen parks. Another will focus on family, home and the community. The third will feature the area’s agriculture and industry, including the railroad.

Harms said that the final design will be such that children and adults alike will be able to help paint the mural.

“We’re trying to get ownership of it from the community and especially the youth,” he said. In turn, he said, the project team hopes reaching out to the area’s youth will help combat graffiti to the mural.

The group is raising money for the project. Harms said that the group needs a minimum of $3,000. The majority of that includes the specialty paint for the outdoor mural. Harms said the group also wants to pay the two Northside artists — Leah Borden and Mark Daniels— for their work on the design and creation of the mural.

They’ve collected or received pledges totaling between $1,600 and $1,700 already, Harms said Thursday, and are planning on $750 from a NeighborWorks grant.

“Since we’ve begun, it’s taken on a whole new dimension for me,” Harms said. “Seeing the community come around and in support of the project has been very exciting for me.”

People can learn more and follow the project by searching for “Middlebury Street Mural Project” on Facebook.

To donate, people can send tax deductible contributions to “LaCasa Inc.” with “Middlebury Street Mural” in the checks’ memo. LaCasa is helping organize and oversee the project, but none of the funds will go to LaCasa or its staff. Money raised is strictly for the mural project materials and related expenses, King said in an email.

“This project will beautify the neighborhood as well as give neighbors an opportunity to work together and strengthen relationships,” King said.

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