Local, national or international artists who want to be part of the 2024 Wayne County Murals Competition need to apply by April 1.

Those selected will be commissioned to complete their mural and compete for three prizes ($10,000, $5,000 and $2,500).

Ten new murals will be created along with a community mural where residents are encouraged to participate.

The competition is set to begin in early summer with awards announced in early fall.

Artist Pamela Bliss, who is managing the program, said in a news release that entries are coming from across the nation, but local artists, depending on skill levels, will be given high consideration and are encouraged to apply.

Artists will be selected for their skill, creativity and experience with large-scale projects, among other qualities.

A map of the murals will be available to the public during the competition.

A panel of judges will select the entrants and the prize winners.

The new murals will join the more than 80 existing murals throughout Wayne County.

Those interested in applying should email Bliss at pamelabliss512@gmail.com to receive a request for qualifications and artist application information. 

The competition is funded through Wayne County’s Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program (HELP), Wayne County Convention & Tourism Bureau, Inc. and Wayne County Foundation.

Bliss and tourism staff are managing the program’s implementation.

Because Wayne County already has so many murals, the tourism bureau has created a “Murals Trail” brochure to help residents and visitors discover the historic, the whimsical and other types of subjects that can be found in hidden alleyways as well as busy streets.

Many of the murals can be found along Main Street in Cambridge City and in Richmond’s Historic Depot District and downtown.

Wayne County murals helped land Richmond a national honor from the Paint Quality Institute as one of America’s Prettiest Painted Places. 

For more information, call 765-935-8687 or email askus@visitrichmond.org.

Overbeck mural gains statewide attention

Wayne County’s most recent mural, which was completed at 221 W. Main St. in Cambridge City, highlights the history of the Overbeck sisters and their impact on the surrounding community, Indiana and the nation.

The Overbeck Sisters’ “Innovative Women IN Indiana” mural was made possible through an Indiana Destination Development Grant awarded in 2023.

Artist Pamela Bliss paid tribute to pottery made by the six Overbeck sisters that has become part of American art history. Their globally recognized, award-winning pottery was created in Cambridge City from 1911 to 1955.

Bliss, who attended Lincoln High School, could be considered an expert in creating murals in Wayne County and around the state. She made several artworks for the remodeled Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in 2022, and a 23-foot-tall portrait of James Whitcomb Riley and a 36-foot mural honoring farmers called “Tall Tales,” both in Greenfield in 2021.  

Bliss has been creating art for more than 30 years, and last year won a Women in the Arts Recognition Award from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

More than 30 public art projects were completed around the state during last year’s grant cycle. A portion feature the state’s new IN Indiana campaign.

Some of the murals are in metro areas, such as 435 Massachusetts Ave. and 707 N. Senate Ave. in Indianapolis, while others are in smaller communities such as Shipshewana, Portland, Lawrenceburg and Nashville. 

The closest new public art to Wayne County is at 210 S. Walnut St. in Muncie.

Art also was added in Otterbein, Crown Point, Kokomo, Westfield, Marion, Huntingburg, Washington, Terre Haute, Warren, Kirklin, Warsaw, Culver, Aurora, Corydon, Jasper, Cicero, Spencer, Franklin, Winslow, Cedar Lake, Mount Ayr and Valparaiso. 

“These projects help showcase Indiana’s diversity, charm and character,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development, in a news release. “Incorporating traditions, values and the unique wonders within each corner of the Hoosier state pays profound homage to Indiana’s rich history and brings it to life in the form of a work of art.”

Projects were selected based on location and visibility to Indiana residents and visitors, with preference given to locations in high-view areas and places that create potential photo opportunities.

“Seeing these wonderful projects completed is such a joy,” said Elaine Bedel, IDDC secretary and CEO. “Each organization, location and community we collaborated with has a unique story to tell, and what better way to tell that story than by bringing it to life for visitors and residents to experience as a work of art.”

See more photos of the new murals at www.visitindiana.com/murals.

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A version of this article appeared in the March 13 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.