Street Art project okayed

Three area art teachers are about to make Ironton a lot more colorful.

The Ironton Board of Aldermen has given the thumbs up on a Street Art project by local students under the teachers’ guidance.

It is the brainchild of Amber Harbison, an art instructor at Lesterville Schools.

“First State Community Bank had a contest that offered a $1,000 grant for a community project,” Harbison explained.  “I was just sitting on my couch one day and thinking about it.”

What she was thinking about was the murals and other street art she has seen in Oklahoma City and St. Louis and the decorated canoes that each year line the streets of Steelville.  In fact, her art students painted several of those canoes.

“It is really cool,” she added.

So, she entered the contest and won, then enlisted the aid of fellow art instructors Rebecca Turner (AV Schools) and Kat Grajek (Valley of Caledonia Schools) to plan and encourage their students in the project.

“The (Ironton) Board of Aldermen is pretty pumped about it,” Harbison said. “We will let them know what we do before we do it, but we have permission to use fire hydants, manhole covers, storm drains, basically anything the city owns.”

If you have seen street art, those fire hydrants may be turned into colorful octopi with tentacles curling up onto the sidewalk.

“I think the road by the school needs tigers,” Harbison laughed.

Another idea may be an aquarium themed mural at the Municipal Swimming Pool.

The three art teachers have talked about the project, but not significantly since school just let out for the summer and it is vacation season.

No themes have been decided, but they know they want it to be a fun project.

It will happen after the new school year begins and the weather cools off a bit.  Harbison has in mind a weekend blitz involving students and alumni.

Already there has been some interest from the community.

One local business owner has approached her with an offer to pay the costs of painting several murals on buildings she owns.

“I probably will use my older skilled art students,” Harbison said. “I told my kids at the end of the year that we had won the grant and they were so excited. Some of them even said, ‘I don’t want to paint, but I want to help, wash paint brushes or something, make sandwiches.”

Harbison said she will create a Facebook page (Arcadia Valley Street Art) to keep the public up-to-date about the project.