The community is invited to share ideas and visions for a new mural to be on Mill Street.

The Gahanna Area Arts Council and the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County are partnering to add some vibrancy to Mill Street this summer in the form of a new mural, according to Christian Peck, the arts council's communications chairman.

Anyone interested in either planning or painting is invited to an opening information session at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 21, at Upper Cup Coffee, 121 Mill St., at Creekside.

Since 2013, ADAMH has been investing in partnerships with neighborhoods countywide for public murals, to engage and educate the public about overall health and wellness, including mental health.

The arts council began pursuing grant opportunities for a mural in Gahanna, in keeping with its value statement: The arts are inherently collaborative, cultivating empathy and communication, according to Peck.

"Everyone involved was thrilled when we were awarded the mural because this was our first large grant," said Juli Hess, arts council secretary.

The two groups have been working together since late last year to find the right location.

Kevin Dengel, president of the arts council's board, said they found it when Dr. Peter Tencza, of Tencza Eye Associates, recently volunteered the side of his building at 78 Mill St.

"We'll be asking people to share their vision for Gahanna, so what better location to illustrate it than on an optometrist's building in the heart and soul of our downtown?" Dengel said.

As part of ADAMH's process, the mural will be planned and painted by Gahanna community members, with the help of the professional artist group ALTernative.

"What we like so much about this approach is that before anyone picks up a brush, we get to ask everyone how they want to be represented, and what they want to see," Peck said.

He said the grant provides up to $30,000, depending on the size of the mural. This includes the cost of the public planning meetings, professional services from ALTernative, wall surface preparation, paint, brushes and a seven-year warranty to repair or replace the mural should it sustain damage.

"Murals really are the best art form to facilitate a conversation about the health and well-being of a neighborhood," Hess said. "They can be a compilation of multiple themes composed into one work, and unlike a smaller canvas, there is literally room for everyone to be involved in the painting."

Those who have ideas to share but can't attend the meeting can give input at