This summer, passersby may have noticed public art adorning buildings along East Main Street.

Local nonprofit BexArts has installed an outdoor exhibit titled "Unseen/Seen" featuring four public murals with artwork created by Bexley residents Christine D'Epiro Abbott, George Leach, Kim Rohrs and Eleanor Rupp.

Members of BexArts -- a community arts council formed by residents interested in promoting Bexley's arts scene -- had been discussing a public-art exhibition since the council's formation in 2016, said Nathaniel Hartman, the group's chairman.

"We're inspired by the Short North murals. I used to live there before I moved to Bexley," he said. "We chose a diverse selection of works that represented Bexley."

BexArts installed the murals in mid-July at Brassica, 2212 E. Main St.; the Drexel Theatre, 2254 E. Main St.; Guiseppe's Ritrovo, 2268 E. Main St.; and RE/MAX Main Street, 2404 E. Main St. BexArts approached businesses along East Main Street where the murals would receive the most visibility, Hartman said.

"We wanted the biggest impact. We thought about placing them in north, central and south Bexley," he said. "Ultimately, we decided the Main Street corridor is where they were going to have the most impact."

BexArts members discussed the murals concept with Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler and received approval from the city's architectural-review board, Hartman said. The murals were funded by a grant from the Bexley Community Foundation's Susie and Charlie Rath Creative Fund for the Arts.

After receiving approval and funding, BexArts put out a public call for artwork, Hartman said.

"We had over 30 residents, as well as students, submit artwork," Hartman said.

Abbott, Leach and Rohrs are all practicing studio artists, and Rupp is a recent Bexley High School graduate.

"We thought it was important to feature a young artist and get her name out there," Hartman said.

In their artist's statements, Abbott, Leach, Rohrs and Rupp described the inspiration for their murals.

"'To Do Ta Da' presents a view of my living room, a site of constant transformation as well as laundry, now playfully turned inside out and magnified on the side of a building," said Abbott, whose work is displayed at Brassica.

Leach said his mural, "Cuban Ferry," which is on display at the Drexel, was inspired by his recent trip to Cuba with a group of fellow central Ohio artists.

"This particular piece came about on the day we were, as a group of 13 artists, supposed to leave the hotel timely and travel by taxi to the ferry docks and go across the bay," Leach said.

"Unfortunately, as is evidenced from the position from which I painted this piece, we missed the ferry because I was the last artist to meet in the lobby. However, had we made the ferry, I would not have been able to catch this amazing image with which to paint from."

Rohrs said she drew inspiration for her mural, "Common Goals," on display at Guiseppe's, while reflecting on how people, animals and objects move together.

"Flocks of birds, weather patterns, traveling groups and even the movement of blood cells through our bodies are inspiration for me," she said. "I am interested in documenting the overall movement created and recognizing that no single act is done in isolation but is the result of many parts coming together toward a common purpose."

Rupp said her work, "Bloomington," displayed at RE/MAX, was the subject of a watercolor painting of a building in Bloomington, Indiana.

"I discovered it during my first college visit and I was intrigued by all of the architecture in town and on campus," she said. "I realized that the more I visited colleges, the more I became inspired by the beautiful buildings and surroundings."

The murals are scheduled to stay up for six months, and BexArts plans to continue the "Unseen/Seen" project in the future, Hartman said.

"Hopefully, we can continue doing the murals with the support of businesses and the community," he said.

For more information, visit bexarts.org.

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