Highland hopes to generate some buzz with a new mural featuring bees pollinating flowers downtown.
The town of Highland picked a design by Northwest Indiana artist Melissa Washburn to be located next to the existing heron and abstract murals on a on a 70-foot-long-by-14-foot-high gray cinderblock wall on Jewett Street near Miles Books and the Sip coffeehouse. The mural will depict gray-and-white bees hovering over colorful flowers against a honeycomb backdrop.
Washburn, an artist, illustrator and graphic designer from Valparaiso, submitted the winning design for a mural that will be displayed on the side of a building at 2825 Jewett St., which is part of the town's ongoing effort to create a Sculpture and Art Walk. She's known throughout Northwest Indiana artistic circles for her mixed-media illustrations that are often inspired by nature, including depictions of butterflies, birds and flowers.
"According to her biography, Ms. Washburn holds a BFA in painting and printmaking from Binghamton University and an MA in Arts Administration from Indiana University Bloomington, and has completed several Illustration classes through the Continuing Education program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago," the Highland Redevelopment Commission said in a news release. "In addition, she is a 2012-13 recipient of an Individual Artist Program grant from the Indiana Arts Commission. Washburn’s background also includes member of the Graphic Artists Guild, worked as Art Director for Group 7even in Valparaiso for two years, and is one of the founders of CSA Valpo, a unique co-op buying program for local art and artists."
Washburn gets a $500 stipend and up to $700 in supplies to complete a third mural by those created by local artists Jessica Haug and Liz Mares. She's expected to finish the piece by Oct. 13.
More and more Northwest Indiana communities, including Griffith, Valparaiso and Gary's Miller neighborhood, recently have commissioned murals to enliven commercial areas.