Drive into Greencastle or Brazil and you’ll find big art! A new four-silo mural greets people coming into Greencastle from the south on U.S. 231. In Brazil, travelers are welcomed by a mural on the east side of the Alabama Bar & Grill. From the west, a collage mural at the southeast corner of U.S. 40 and Lambert St. greets travelers.
The Putnam County Mural Project is one of the largest murals in Indiana. Four 1953-era silos became the canvas for mural artist Key Detail (Andrei Krautsou). Spray painting by hand over two weeks, Key Detail transformed the 50-feet-tall, 8000-square-foot cylindrical canvas into a palette incorporating the beauty that is Putnam County. Farm animals, an eagle, a violin or fiddle (you choose!) and a covered bridge complete with morel mushrooms entice long-time residents and visitors to explore the beauty that is Putnam County.
Chris Flegal, co-founder of the Putnam County Mural Project, reflects: “This project is about engaging the community in participatory art-making. Through our project, residents had the opportunity to provide input on what they’d like to see on the silos. They also raised the funds to make the project happen.”
“Public art is more meaningful when it engages the community and celebrates who we are and where we are headed, ” Flegal said. “We hope this artwork continues to spark conversation about who we are as a community and inspire others to create meaningful art projects throughout Putnam County.”
The whimsical murals on U.S. 40 in Brazil include bygone era baseball teams, bands, agriculture, delivery vehicles and people.
Artist Becky Hochhalter recently completed the mural on the side of Alabama Bar & Grill. The work features a Pepsi theme. She incorporated the local towns of Staunton, Brazil, Clay City and Van Buren on the baseball sign and the delivery truck. Hochhalter also did one of the murals in the new Vigo County Historical Society Museum.
The mural on the west side of Brazil, at Lambert Street and U.S. 40, celebrates Brazil’s past and future. Danielle Bruce and Lee Lewis are responsible for the brick wall’s colorful transformation. The woman with bananas on her head is a nod to a gift from Brazil – the Chafariz Dos Contos fountain at the Brazil’s Forest Park. Farming, clay factories and Great Dane industries are all part of the “Brazil Welcomes You” message.
Public art doesn’t end at the murals in either town. Eitel’s Florist just off the square in Greencastle beckons guests with a wall of flowers, “Greencastle Blossoms” by local resident Amy Welch. Step around the corner and see the “Starlight Barn Quilts” mural, Welch’s second project for Greencastle.
Stop by the Clay County Historical Society Museum – the old Post Office – and then head out back to an interactive mural in the alley. Brazil Main Street’s Interactive Street Art Wall invites young and old alike to enjoy local art and spaces for whimsical photos. Try on butterfly wings, hold a huge bouquet of orange balloons or walk up a stairway of books.
Says Bloomington art historian Taylor Zartman, “What makes murals special is when they’re made by the community, for the community. The dialogue and the communal drive behind the silos make them special.”