Public Art

The Public Art initiative relates to the Muncie Action Plan (MAP) Initiative 3: Strengthening Pride and Image. It also relates to Initiative 4: Creating Attractive and Desirable Places. Both aim to improve a community’s image or identity and to promote pride amongst its residents. The presence of art in Industry will help to build a better community and attract more people to the neighborhood. Within Initiative 3, Public Art relates specifically to Action 1: Develop a city brand and marketing campaign. It also relates to Action 5: Continue to pursue a cultural district designation from the Indiana Arts Commission (IAC). The Public Art initiative will greatly contribute to the development of a community brand by enhancing its appearance and will help create a sense of place or designation. Utilizing public art as a marketing technique for Industry can stimulate visitors’ and residents’ interest in this neighborhood, along with highlighting its assets and history. Connecting the neighborhood with Downtown, Minnetrista, and Ball State University for art establishments could help further promote Industry as a destination. Initiative 4 acknowledges public art installations under “potential actions” in which it emphasizes the importance of increasing their existence in order to create an attractive and livable community.

Why this is important

The Public Art initiative was created through an initial initiative suggested by Industry residents during the first neighborhood meeting on January 22, 2015. The primary suggestion was to remove the unsafe image of the neighborhood or decrease the negative perception of Industry as dangerous. Out of the 46 survey respondents, 15 would like to see community spaces improve in their neighborhood. The idea is to improve the neighborhood’s identity and make it more of a welcoming and vibrant atmosphere. Therefore, public art will contribute to the beautification of Industry and help brand or market the neighborhood to bring in more residents and visitors to the area. The improvement in its appearance will help create a pedestrian-friendly environment and give residents a sense of ownership and pride. Public art can create gathering spots or areas for social events. It can also recruit local artists, students, and visitors to partake in the art installations (See Figure 1). The art itself will represent Industry’s unique character and history. This initiative received a low priority rating by residents and students at the March neighborhood meeting. While this initiative is no less important than the others, residents will most likely take action on this after the high and medium priority initiatives.

Children can be involved in painting a neighborhood mural as no group of residents should be excluded from any community activities. Source: Davonte Caldwell.

What this will involve

The Industry Neighborhood Association (INA) can form a public art committee that includes residents, art educators, or young adults with artistic skills to formulate a plan on the installation, maintenance, and funding of the art pieces within the neighborhood. The INA can partner with members of culture and arts organizations in Muncie such as the Muncie Arts and Culture Council and the Cornerstone Center for the Arts to implement the plan and allocate funds for permanent and temporary pieces. The public art committee can set up and host design workshops for residents to express their ideas on what kinds of public art should be established within the neighborhood. The approval of certain ideas can be made by the committee or public vote and the members of the neighborhood association can also decide on the locations for art establishments. Every resident should have the opportunity to partake in a public art project in order to emphasize the MAP’s initiative for strengthening pride and image.

Local foundations such as the Ball Brothers Foundation and the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, Inc. provides funding for projects/programs that are either categorized under arts & culture or fine arts. The Ball Brothers Foundation offers general grants that typically range from $5,000 to $100,000. Applications are considered twice annually and a submission of a letter of inquiry is required prior to filling out an application. The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, Inc. provides two grants: the Quarterly Competitive Grant and the Kitselman Grant. Organizations can be awarded more than $25,000 from both funds. Applications for the Quarterly Competitive Grant are reviewed quarterly by the Board of Directors and first-time applicants are required to contact the Foundation to discuss grant proposals prior to submission of an application. Applications for the Kitselman Grant are reviewed in the first quarter of each year, so applicants must submit the required application materials by December 31st of each year. The National Endowment for the Arts is another funding source for this initiative. Through its “Our Town” grant, organizations may request a grant amount that ranges from $25,000 to $200,000. Through the “Art Works” grant, organizations may request a grant amount that ranges from $10,000 to $100,000.

Contact information for funding/assistance sources

Ball Brothers Foundation
222 S. Mulberry St
Muncie, IN 47305
Phone: (765) 741-5500
Contact: Donna Munchel, Grant Process Manager

Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County
201 E. Jackson Street
Muncie, IN 47305
Phone: (765) 747-7181
Fax: (765) 289-7770
Contact: Cheryl Decker, Executive Assistant

National Endowment for the Arts
400 7th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20506
Phone: (202) 682-5400
Contact: Nicki Jacobs, Grants & Contracts

Suitability analysis

This initiative applies to all parts of Industry. The suitability map identifies the most suitable spots, moderately suitable spots, and least suitable spots for public art based on the presence of vacant and occupied lots and their proximity to a major road (See Figure 2). Vacant lots can serve as catalysts for Industry and be utilized by the establishments of public art. Lots shown in green are vacant lots that can serve as community gardens or pocket parks and are located near major roads. Therefore, public art installations near the public right-of-way would be clearly visible to pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. Lots shown in yellow are vacant lots that are fairly suitable for public art as they are not near major corridors. Lots shown in red are not suitable for public art as they are currently utilized properties.

Figure 2 - Suitability map showing the most to least potential spots for public art projects. Image: Davonte Caldwell.

Suitability map showing the most to least potential spots for public art projects. Source: Davonte Caldwell.

Case studies

Case Study One: Corcoran Neighborhood, Minneapolis, MN

The Corcoran Neighborhood is in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Corcoran Neighborhood Organization (CNO) was established in 1975 and has continued to unify neighbors to improve and protect the neighborhood. It seeks to encourage residents to invest in the future of their neighborhood and to ensure access to the public resources needed for them to live a safe and enjoyable life. One of the organization’s programs is the public art. Plenty of its art was created by individual artists and community groups (See Figure 3). The CNO uses public art as a tool to create a unified community and to change empty or lifeless spaces into public spaces.

The CNO’s public art projects from 2011 to 2012 were partially funded by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund as the money was approved by the vote of the citizens of Minnesota on November 4, 2008. The city helped support the CNO’s 2011 graffiti prevention murals and landscaping, and the Valspar Foundation, a global manufacturer of paints and coating, continue to provide the paint for all public art projects. Additional support is provided by donations from individuals and the Neighborhood Revitalization Program.


Figure 3 – Photo showing a mural in Corcoran Neighborhood, which displays its assets and history. Source:

Case Study Two: The Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance Mosaic Project

The Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance (PDNA) is a non-profit resident organization in the South Loop community of Chicago. The organization’s mission is to build a sense of community, to preserve the neighborhood’s historic character, and to educate the public about its history. The community itself was once an industrial district and has now become a family friendly neighborhood. It has gone through many changes in the past decade, but still maintains elements of its industrial past.

One of the PDNA projects was a public art project, which a rusty railroad underpass was decorated with murals on both sides (See Figure 4). Creating the murals gave the neighborhood an opportunity to showcase its pride, along with engaging residents in the process. Overall, public art serves as a tool for economic revitalization and improve the community’s identity. It helps shape the quality of life for individuals by providing a way to express community spirit. It also attracts more people to the area who bring their skills and capacities to the table.


Figure 4 – Photo showing Prairie District’s murals at a railroad underpass. Source:

Additional websites of interest



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