The Gahanna Area Arts Council has plans for 2018 and wants the community to join in.

Christian Peck, council communications chairman, said policy and procedures have been in development for more than a year, and it's time for the public launch.

"We're looking for people who can represent the council: dancers, colorists, visual artists, musicians, gardeners, anything and everything that can be considered art," Peck said.

He said Gahanna is incomplete without representation from the arts community and the council wants people to be a part of it all.

He said the council wants to develop a whole arts community.

The council's mission is to connect and enrich the community through participation in and engagement with the arts. Its vision is to cultivate a creative community.

Kevin Dengel, council president, said programs and initiatives are being developed for 2018, including a partnership with the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County to create a mural.

In 2013, ADAMH started investing in partnerships with neighborhoods countywide for public murals to engage and educate residents about overall health and wellness, including mental health.

Each mural is a reflection of its location and the thoughts residents associate with wellness.

Hess said the idea is based on how art helps mental health.

"The goal is that we get a team of artists in the community together and talk to see what they want on their mural and design it," she said. "It will be drawn up in paint-by-number, and we'll do it as a whole community."

ADAMH is teaming up with architectural firm ALTernative to evaluate the creative potential of each space, solicit community input, design and complete the mural.

Residents are asked to share ideas for the mural and to join in the fun of community paint days.

Dengel said they're committed to Gahanna and will try to complete the mural in the first half of 2018.

He said a steering committee includes artists and the historical society, looking for structures in Olde Gahanna for the mural location.

He said another project the council is excited about is an arts hub in Olde Gahanna.

"We want to have arts in the alley like 4th Friday in Westerville," he said. "We have a commission planning that. We'll come up with our own name. It will be an arts hub in the area for May, June, July and August."

The Westerville Visitors and Convention Bureau sponsors Mount Carmel St. Ann's 4th Fridays on the fourth Friday of each month from April through September in Uptown Westerville.

On those Fridays, residents have access to 100-plus street vendors, food carts, live entertainment, kids activities and extended hours in the Uptown shops.

In developing the GAAC, Dengel said, arts-organization experts were brought in and informed the group how it could go.

"The mayor initiated it, and he called on arts leaders and other leaders from the city," Dengel said.

Peck said one reason they like working with Mayor Tom Kneeland is that he's a "people person."

"He said, 'Do what you do and I'm excited to see the result,' " Peck said.

After meeting with the larger group, Dengel said, a core of five or six people met multiple times for a year to get procedures in place.

"We did community surveys to see what Gahanna artists were thinking," he said. "We came up with value statements."

Hess, owner of Gahanna's Art Garden Studios, said they wanted to see how much interest there was in the arts.

"We placed signs in the community to get a conversation going in social media," she said.

Residents were asked in three community surveys about what art means to them.

"A lot of people identify themselves as art patrons," Peck said. "Others identify as artists/creators. The most interesting theme to me is they're interested in the conversation, but they don't settle on one thing."

Dengel said connectivity came up in surveys in regard to connecting the community.

He said city development-department officials conveyed that the arts drive connectivity.

Anyone who wants to present ideas or get involved may email info@gahannaarts.org.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla