After seven years and help from more than 5,000 people -- including 4,500 Dublin City Schools students -- a mural project in a Dublin pedestrian tunnel is wrapping up.
Five elementary schools joined to start the project, said Sharon Buda, an art teacher at Wyandot Elementary School.
In addition to Wyandot, the others were Albert Chapman, Scottish Corners, Glacier Ridge and Mary Emma Bailey elementary schools, she said.
Indian Run Elementary School joined the project this year, she said.
"It's been amazing that so many different community members, whether it's kids, families, co-op groups, have all given so much of their time and talents to create this artwork," Buda said.
The project in the tunnel beneath Emerald Parkway, near its intersection with Dublin Road, began after students finished a previous art project in a pedestrian tunnel under Brand Road behind Wyandot, Buda said.
When the project began, Buda said, she guessed it would take five years or more to complete -- and she wasn't too far off base.
Students and volunteers were able to work on installation about two weeks in the tunnel most summers, except for 2016, Buda said, and family days and corporate volunteer efforts also helped with the progress.
Artwork was created for the tunnel in a variety of ways.
Students and families created family tiles at school art shows, Buda said.
Attendees of the Dublin Arts Council's B.R.E.A.D! Festival in 2016 and 2017 had the opportunity to create self-portrait tiles representing Dublin's diversity.
Other student-created art reflected how art connects to the community and also explored attributes of a Dublin graduate, such as generosity, empathy and collaboration.
A $2,000 grant from the Dublin Education Foundation in 2018 and two grants from the Dublin Arts Council -- $4,800 in 2013 and $3,215 in 2018 -- helped bring the project to fruition, Buda said.
Several of the schools PTOs also contributed funding. Most of the funding was used for visiting artists to assist students with the artwork, printing of the art images onto the PVC panels and supplies.
The mural is heavy with symbolism.
Students and community members also have outlines of their hands throughout the entire project to represent Dublin's volunteerism, Buda said.
A path that winds throughout the mural represents Dublin's bike paths. Mirror tiles that speckle the mural were created so observers can be reflected and become part of the artwork.
Volunteers from Acura Columbus on June 12 were in the tunnel with Buda adding grout to the final portion of tiles.
It was the last step to complete the mural, Buda said, other than some black outlining that she planned to add.
The city of Dublin also will install art panels created by students on the lower portion of the tunnel wall in the fall, Buda said.
Daniel Jimenez, a 24-year-old Columbus resident who works in the parts department at Acura, was applying grout with co-workers.
He said it was the first time he had seen mural, and he enjoyed helping.
"It's awesome," he said.
The mural project is a culmination of years of work community members, said Janice Kuchinka, who teaches visual art at Scottish Corners.
Kuchinka said she helped during a couple of different summers with student summer camps and at the Dublin B.R.E.A.D! Festival. Her students created art displayed on PVC panels as well as clay tiles.
Most recently, she took two classes of fifth-graders to the tunnel to install their tiles and help with the mosaic work.
"It is amazing to see the project finished," she said, "and the community truly has authentically contributed."