Public Art

The “Public Art” initiative relates to the Muncie Action Plan (MAP) Initiative 3,“Strengthening Pride and Image.”It specifically relates to Action 5, “Continue to pursue a cultural district designation from the Indiana Arts Commission (IAC),” by capitalizing on the sense of pride the residents feel toward their neighborhood’s contribution to Muncie’s historical success. It also relates to Initiative 4, “Creating Attractive and Desirable Places.”

Public art is an attractive, efficient method of increasing pedestrian traffic, creating a sense of history and togetherness, and developing an identity within the community. Public art not only helps to beautify a community, but also aims to spur increased attention and potential investment throughout the area. In Thomas Park/Avondale (TPA), public art depicting the rich history of the neighborhood could help form a community identity and highlight existing traditions already in the neighborhood.


Residents created the initiative through a brainstorming session at the February 2016 Thomas Park/Avondale Neighborhood Association (TPANA) meeting. In a neighborhood-wide survey, residents voiced the need for safer and more visually appealing streets and public spaces. Furthermore, art on the streets and in the community makes for an overall more enjoyable experience.


Public art will create a medium for neighbors to interact with each other, both through creating and looking at the art. Public art will also help to put more “eyes on the street” to help prevent crime by bringing more people into the neighborhood as well as encouraging a sense of community pride by celebrating TPA’s history.


Figure 1 – Image showing neighborhood residents painting a mural. Source: Julia Chanen




GearBox: Muncie, the Muncie Arts and Culture Council, and the Cornerstone Center for the Arts could serve as effective partners in implementing this initiative as all three organizations are involved in promoting arts within the Muncie community. Brainstorming and visioning sessions with any of the partner institutions would benefit the community by allowing any resident the opportunity to participate in the process.

To paint a mural, the committee could host a brainstorming session to determine what the community would like to see depicted in the mural. Then there could be a call for submissions for murals followed by a community vote for the favorite mural. The vote could be no less than one month after the call for submissions to allow artists and community members to create a proposal as well as notify the community about the process. A call for submissions on the day of a monthly neighborhood association meeting and a vote held at the following monthly meeting would be a fair model.

To determine which vacant homes to decorate, the Public Art committee should refer to the Vacant Home Art suitability map below to determine the best locations. Then at the same meeting as the vote on the mural, the community could decide which homes to decorate as well as decide on a bi-weekly weekend schedule to paint the boarded windows. Vacant homes could also be used for temporary art installations in cooperation with local artists. These installations would bring added attention to the neighborhood and bring residents from all parts of Muncie to TPA.


TPANA would be in charge of forming a committee involving residents, local artists, and children to create a plan to determine where to paint or install various instances of public art as well as define a maintenance schedule for the art. The committee would also be responsible for obtaining funding for the projects and establishing partnerships within the Muncie community.


The Public Art initiative would apply to the entire neighborhood. The map below details the most trafficked neighborhood intersections and stretches of road that would enable the art to be viewed by the most residents and others passing through the community. A mural celebrating the neighborhood’s history would be located at either the Ross Center or the Maring-Hunt Library.


Case studies

Ewell Gantz Neighborhood Playground: Lancaster, Pennsylvania


Figure 3: Mural located at the Ewell Gantz Playground

The Ewell Gantz Neighborhood Playground 1 is home to a large mural depicting local American Olympian Henry Norwood and community activist Ida Gantz. Located next to both a school and a local daycare center, the mural depicts two well-known community members that embody the neighborhood’s history—a strategic move by the community to encourage children to learn about the community’s culture. The mural was created through collaboration with the Lancaster Public Art Advisory Board and the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design and was painted by a local artist after listening to commentary and feedback from the community to create the design. Wells Fargo Bank and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts provided funding for the project and the process took a total of five months from proposal to execution.

Flower House: Detroit, Michigan


In Detroit, Michigan, a vacant home was turned into a “Flower House” 2 as a temporary art installation. The project started after a local artist was inspired by a similar project in a fashion show. The original local artist, Lisa Waud, saw potential to convert the abandoned home into a beautiful display of flowers and an opportunity to showcase the work of local Detroit florists. Waud purchased the home from the City for $250 and started selling tickets to tour the home for $15. The display ran until the flowers wilted and the home was then demolished using the income from the ticket sale.


The Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County, Inc.

Quarterly Competitive Grants

The Community Foundation’s purpose is to contribute to improving the quality of life in Muncie and Delaware County. Grants are awarded to fund projects for which there is a community benefit in the following areas of interest: arts and culture, human services, economic development, education, and community betterment. Grants are awarded to 501(c)(3) organizations. Forms may be obtained online or by calling the foundation office. First-time applicants are required to contact the foundation prior to submission to discuss grant proposals. Upcoming 2016 deadlines are January 8; April 8; July 8; and October 7. Apply Online

Kitselman Grants

The following areas of focus have been established for grants from the fund: fine arts, recreation, children, and the history of East Central Indiana. The Kitselman Advisory Board meets each year to review applications and make recommendations to the Board of Directors of The Community Foundation, which makes the final selection of grant recipients. Kitselman applications are reviewed in the first quarter of each year, so applicants are requested to submit their application materials by December 31st of each year. Most grants from the Fund will be of a significant amount, usually in excess of $25,000. Apply Online

George and Frances Ball Foundation

The George and Frances Ball Foundation’s focus areas for giving are higher education, primary and secondary education, health and human services, environment and conservation, historic preservation, arts and education, youth development and civic enhancement. Organizations and institutions with 501(c)(3) status are eligible for this grant and there is no award limit. Application process: Applications instructions can be found online. Submit one copy to and have a print copy mailed or delivered to the office. Deadlines are four weeks prior to board meetings. 2016 deadlines are March 18, May 17, June 14, August 22, September 16, November 11, and December 9.

Contact information

The Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County, Inc.
P.O. Box 807
Muncie, IN 47308
Phone: (765) 747-7181
Fax: (765) 289-7770
Contact: Cheryl Decker, Executive Assistant

George and Frances Ball Foundation
P.O. Box 1408
Muncie, Indiana 47308
Phone: (765) 747-4825
Fax: (765) 747-4898
Contact: Kris Gross, Executive Assistant

Additional websites of interest

1: Graupera, Joshua. “Public Art.” Public Art. July 25, 2014. Accessed April 12, 2016.

2: Powers, Rebecca. “This Abandoned House Was Filled with Thousands of Flowers.” Washington Post. October 23, 2015. Accessed April 12, 2016.