Bright Blocks mural project meant to inspire, build community throughout Gahanna

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group
Gahanna artist Kevin McGinn, owner of Peabody Creative, at 166 Granville St. in Gahanna, works on a sketch for the mural he will complete as part of the Bright Blocks project that has been commissioned by the Gahanna Area Arts Council.

Uplifting mural cubes are being designed by area artists to inspire and brighten Gahanna neighborhoods.

Christian Peck, vice president of the Gahanna Area Arts Council, said the Bright Blocks project includes an equal partnership among the council, city of Gahanna and 104.9 The River radio station.

Artists who have been commissioned as of Oct. 29 include Kevin McGinn, Thom Glick, Jen Wrublieski and Marc Thomas.

“We've strived for a balance of diversity, selecting best-of-the-best Gahanna artists like Kevin, as well as household-name talent from Columbus like Thom and respected artists from the rest of our region like Jen and Marc,” Peck said.

For the arts council, he said, the goal is to support the arts, which have been among the hardest hit industries with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

“Forty-eight percent of artists are currently out of work in the state of Ohio,” Peck said. “A lot of them are independent contractors not eligible for unemployment.”

More artists are being sought to create the outdoor blocks that will be featured in a series of billboard-size images.

Peck said the mobile mural cubes, each measuring 8 feet wide by 8 feet tall, will be placed around Gahanna's city parks and public spaces beginning this month through November 2021, with each intended to surprise and delight onlookers as they discover new art and new cubes in new neighborhoods.

“We titled it 'Bright Blocks' because it’s literally what they are,” he said. “We want to brighten up the neighborhoods that need it. Uplifting and inspirational is what we need right now.”

Peck said each chosen artist will be awarded $450 for time, talent and materials.

Themes should reflect an uplifting, positive tone meant to brighten one’s spirit, and colors should be bright and bold to attract attention and stand out in a natural setting, he said.

Proposals will be selected based on content, not experience, and emerging artists are encouraged to apply, he said. 

Submissions will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Interested applicants should submit their contact information and/or upload a simple sketch of their proposal at gahannaarts.org/brightblocks.

Any questions or comments should be sent to brightblocks@gahannaarts.org.

Catalyst for inspiration

Kevin McGinn of Peabody Creative, at 166 Granville St. in Gahanna, said it’s his hope that the Bright Blocks project could be used as a catalyst for inspiration or a fun visual that could put a smile on someone's face. 

“We all need that little bit of brightness right now,” he said. 

McGinn, a graduate of Columbus College of Art & Design who also has worked as an adjunct CCAD teacher, said the piece he's creating will consist of vibrant colors and have some humor to it, as well as uplifting and fun imagery. 

“I enjoy placing human characteristics into animals, so my piece will consist of local wildlife interacting as ‘community’ in some energetic and fun illustrative story,” he said. “A good chunk of my work revolves around children's and humorous illustration.”

Along with the colorful vibrant illustrations he creates, McGinn is an independent patent illustrator. 

“I work in many different facets of the illustration and design industry,” he said. “One of my passions is teaching and love to spend time with students from all different levels of art.” 

He said his colleagues who are working on the first blocks are professional artists also working in the industry. 

“All have an incredible talent and have work around the city.” McGinn said. “All of us have different styles and incredible ideas and, when showcased, will be amazing.”

He said getting involved with the Bright Blocks project was an easy decision. 

“I love my profession, as well as Gahanna,” McGinn said. “We have something special here as a community, and I'm hoping to help build that community even more.” 

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla