A new mural display of artwork by students of the Batesville Community School Corporation is being installed on Main Street in Batesville through the collaborative effort of the Batesville Community Education Foundation and two of its corporate sponsors. BCEF board member Jama Linkel-Cleghorn is the project coordinator.
Dubbed “Art on Main,” the new program will feature artwork from students from all four BCSC schools over the course of a year. Art teachers at each school have been given the latitude to determine whether the art project for that school will be a group effort or will be selected from individual entries. This school year’s theme, chosen by BCEF board members, is “Bulldogs for Life.” The four BCSC schools’ artwork will be displayed downtown one at a time on a rotating basis, giving each building’s students a time in the community spotlight.
“BCEF’s mission is to provide innovative learning opportunities to BCSC students,” Linkel-Cleghorn said. “As a BCEF board member, I was approached by two of our new sponsors—Jimmy Rowland of Rowland Graphics and Nick Maple of The Simons Company—asking if BCEF would be interested in launching a new program to feature artwork from the four public schools while enhancing Batesville’s downtown. Our answer was an enthusiastic ‘Yes!’”
While BCEF is sponsoring the new program by covering the annual cost of the materials to create the murals and coordinating with the teachers, Rowland and Maple are integral partners, providing the production and installation of and location for the murals. Rowland will convert the submitted artwork into mountable murals, and the side of Maple’s building on Main Street will provide a central downtown location for the display.
“This new program is a perfect example of Batesville doing what it does best,” Linkel-Cleghorn explained. “These two new corporate sponsors—who also happen to be BHS alumni—went beyond financial support of our nonprofit and developed an idea for BCEF to encourage innovation and creativity. Now we can give our students a chance to display their artistic talent in the community while adding to the cityscape, all because these sponsors cared enough to share their idea.”
“As the nonprofit partner of the Batesville public schools, BCEF always strives to continue to expand our programming to benefit students,” added Anne Wilson, BCEF executive director. “Historically, the bulk of our grants and programs have focused on academics. We’re excited to be able to offer something for our art students while also furthering the efforts begun by other nonprofit groups to beautify downtown with murals.”
The first mural this school year features artwork from the following four students from Batesville Primary School (BPS), combined to create a fall scene: Kate Shotwell, Jaeger Hund, and Sofia Garcia (all second grade) and Wyatt Moorman (first grade). The other schools will follow, several months apart.
“I want to thank BCEF, Rowland Graphics, and The Simons Company for organizing and sponsoring this project,” said BPS art teacher Laura Gilland. “What a great experience for my students to have their artwork displayed in downtown Batesville for the entire community to enjoy. I am very proud of Kate, Jaeger, Sofia, and Wyatt!”
BCSC superintendent Paul Ketcham, who also serves on the board of directors of BCEF, expressed his enthusiastic support for this new venture.
“The Batesville Community Education Foundation continues to evolve into an amazing resource for our students and our community,” Ketcham said. “The Art on Main project embodies the collaborative spirit of BCEF by showcasing student artwork while enhancing our downtown. BCSC takes great pride in promoting and cultivating student talents in academics, the arts, and athletics, and BCEF helps us realize this goal while connecting and supporting past and present Bulldogs.”