Westerville News & Public Opinion

Westerville Bikeway mural

'Community Paint Day' for huge mural Saturday

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After two months of planning, painting of a 100-foot-long, 16-foot high mural begins in Westerville this weekend along the sheds of Cellar Lumber, 137 E. College Ave.

The mural is a collaborative project between the city, the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County and the art organization ALTernative. It will come to life during the project's Community Paint Day Saturday, Aug. 2.

The project is ADAMH's second of three planned murals in central Ohio communities, and the agency's aim is to represent a better lifestyle while adding a splash of art to the city.

"Our goal for these projects is to offer residents the opportunity to express more of a creative vision for what they'd like to see in their community as it relates to mental health and physical health and overall a healthy community," ADAMH spokeswoman Alisha Evans said.

Evans said that while each of the communities has its own direction and priorities, she hopes that each of the projects will take something similar from the process.

"The process is pretty cool because we're able to have a meeting with the community ... to have a conversation about what it means to be a resident in that community and what are their thoughts on mental illness and substance abuse in their community."

Mandi, who preferred to be identified by only her first name, attends Concord Counseling Services in Westerville and will be among the volunteers at Paint Day. She has no background in art, but said that she got into bead-weaving as a form of therapy at Concord.

"After I'm done with work or if there are stressful things, it's something I can turn to that's healthy," she said. "It's not like drugs or alcohol. ... It's beautiful and soothing."

And though she says she "can't even draw a stick figure," Mandi said she's excited to work on the mural project, and hopes it can inspire others to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Evans said the combination of professional artists and community involvement in the process should create a good balance between aesthetics and inspiration.

"The professional artists are really able to turn the words the community has offered up into a vision," she said. "The professional artists are able to turn that huge mural into smaller segments so that people can kind of do a paint-by-numbers process and assist in something that will be on a larger scale."

And while she's excited to get painting, Mandi knows there's a more important goal.

"If this can get other people to start art or another hobby as part of their recovery, that would be awesome," she said.

Community Paint Day is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2. Residents wishing to take part are asked to come out to the site.

Cellar Lumber's sheds are located along the east side of the Westerville Bikeway, south of College Avenue and north of Park Street.

Participants will gather at the Westerville Legacy Train Depot at Hanby Park, 115 E. Park St., at the rear of the Westerville Public Library property.

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