Shoppers streaming into the new Northland Village Kroger store that was scheduled for a grand opening on Oct. 19 will find the neighborhood's diversity celebrated in not only the merchandise on the shelves but also in two pieces of art on the walls.

Shoppers streaming into the new Northland Village Kroger store that was scheduled for a grand opening on Oct. 19 will find the neighborhood's diversity celebrated in not only the merchandise on the shelves but also in two pieces of art on the walls.

Artist Sarah Deangulo Hout, a 2004 graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design who lives in the Northland area just outside of Westerville, installed her 16-by-12-foot work "Treasure" just inside one of the entrances last week.

Harrison West resident Adam Hernandez was also on hand as a work crew hung his painting, a stylized depiction of downtown Columbus, in the second-floor dining area on the west side of the building.

Kroger officials worked with the Columbus Arts Council to find people to create works for the new store, according to Jennifer R. Jarrell, media and government relations manager for the Kroger Co.'s Columbus Division.

"It's people and places," Hout said of her piece. "The challenge from Kroger was to 'celebrate the spirit of community.' So I thought what it is Northland really embodies. I decided the thing that needed to be depicted the most was diversity."

Hout said she took an entire day to drive around the neighborhood, stopping at different businesses and the various subdivisions.

"I discovered things I didn't know existed," she said. "The idea is just opening your eyes to the treasure around you, and for Northland, it's the amazing diverse cultures. They have some hidden gems."

Hernandez, a self-taught artist originally from the Bronx, said he mostly specializes in abstract street art, but went after something different with his painting for the new grocery store.

"I tried to challenge myself with it," the 29-year-old said. "It's the Columbus skyline, my own interpretation of it. I was trying to make it more expressive."

The Hernandez painting is located in a seating area just outside the second-floor community meeting room Kroger will make available to neighborhood groups, according to Jarrell.

"It was like trying out for a play and you know you got the part," Hernandez said. "I was really ecstatic."

"I just consider it an honor," Hout said of being selected for the Kroger art display. "I've been very blessed to have some other opportunities to have some decent exposure ... but I just felt so honored that they would want me to paint this for them. It's a great opportunity."

The 108,000-square-foot store at 1745 Morse Road in Northland Village replaces a 60,000-square-foot Kroger at 1630 Morse Road that was built in 1968. Constructed on the site of the former Northland Mall, the new store represents a $21.5 million investment.

The project was awarded $12.5 million in federal and state tax credits for the project.

"The Northland Village Kroger location is uniquely merchandised to cater to the diverse demographics of the area," Jarrell said in a press release prior to the grand opening.

That includes such items as daikon, dragon fruit, lemongrass and lychees, she said, along with traditional Hispanic breads, spices and snacks, Caribbean beans and specialty Asian rice.

"This store was tailored to the needs and wants of the community," manager Danny Guessas said. "Unlike any other Kroger store in the region, the Northland Village Kroger will serve the nearby business community by providing hundreds of made-to-order offerings, including gourmet pizza, pastas, street tacos, sandwiches, sushi and Pan Asian cuisine."

He added that Indo-Nepal and Tibetan cuisine will be available from Himalayan Grille. a Gahanna restaurant that will operate a food cart in the store.

"Customers can then enjoy their meals in the bistro with two-story seating area and outdoor patio," Guessas said.

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1