This past August, the Anderson Indiana Main Street (AIMS) revealed two new murals around the downtown area painted by local artists. The organization is a non-for-profit that is passionate about providing an inviting culture within Anderson.
Nekoda Witsken, the artist of one of the murals, is a native of Anderson who became involved with the project by applying online with the Arts Council of Indianapolis.
“I was born in Anderson’s hospital, so when I came across the callout, I felt particularly called to apply,” she said.
Witsken’s piece is about growth and nurturing and represents a Mother Earth motif. Originally, the idea for the mural was completely different until AIMS decided to have Witsken create a piece that would unite with future projects.
“Out of that meeting, the #growanderson theme was born. That’s how I landed on the current design,” Witsken said.
Witsken credits Maria Lehr and Dennis Whittacre for helping her reach her final goal.
“They truly made every step of the process easier. It was a treat to create for Anderson,” she said.
Maria Lehr, the AIMS secretary, stated that the idea to create the downtown art started as a beautification of Meridian Street.
“We offered some small grants to businesses who needed assistance with facade work,” Lehr said. “Putting some small, strategically placed murals in some areas that needed a little love was the second part of that project. Murals are trending in many downtowns throughout the nation and we wanted Anderson to get in on the fun.”
Another mural artist for the organization is Shelby Nower. Nower discussed how she wanted to paint something historic in a modern way.
“Anderson is a really beautiful city, and their historic part of town has gorgeous architecture and homes. I love that they’re starting to include public art as well,” she said.
Nower also discussed her process of creating her design.
“Once I lined up my design, I put down the first coat. I taped off areas for the yellow pointed rays and gave them a first coat as well,” said Nower. “The whole design took about three coats. I added the stars and the heart inside the light last.”
“I am deeply touched to have been a part of it,” Witsken said. “I absolutely want to keep creating for Anderson and hope to present Anderson Main Street with more proposals for public art.”
“It’s amazing,” said Nower. “ I’m so grateful that Anderson chose me for this piece. I love that I’m able to contribute a part of this town’s public art. Public art is my favorite, because it is made for the whole community to enjoy.”
Lehr spoke on the importance of AIMS’ involvement within the Anderson community.
“It’s the mission of AIMS to always care for and develop our downtown but the timing has felt particularly right for this project with a few new and unique businesses opening their doors in downtown this summer,” Lehr said. “There seems to be a lot of positive momentum right now in the downtown area and we are excited to be a part of it with these murals.”
Photo by Connor Carr