Youth council bringing mural to city’s downtown


JASPER — A group of students is making strides toward bringing an interactive mural and community gathering space to life in downtown Jasper.

The Jasper Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council has selected a location for the large-scale artwork. It will be displayed on the Kerstiens Building, which is located at 215 Mill St., near the Spirit of Jasper Train Depot and across the street from the under-construction Thyen-Clark Cultural Center.

“We decided that the Kerstiens Building has the perfect amount of space, and it also is close to the Strassenfest,” said Deisy Sandoval, the council’s president. “It’s close to the train depot. It’ll have space for the gathering area. It’s just like a perfect place to have it.”

Members are planning for the mural to be finished in the family-friendly location by this summer. The artwork could span an entire side wall of the building, explained Edwin Sanchez, the vice president of the council.

The design has not been set, but results from community and school surveys have pointed the council to the themes of diversity, wildlife, history and interactiveness.

“We’ve been actually getting a lot of good feedback from this,” Deisy said. “And it’s awesome because every little support we get from it makes us want to actually put this into place, and have a lot more fun with the process and helps us realize this is why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

In recent months, the group has collected designs from students in the Society of Fine Arts club at Jasper High School. A call for local professional artists to work on the project will be made in the future.

“I just think it’s been a great experience so far,” Edwin said.

The local council is working with Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to secure grant funding for the project, but the $5,000 it would receive from the school would only cover a portion of the estimated $15,000 price tag.

Included in that is the cost of the artist and the materials. A few picnic tables will also be repainted through the project. Readers interested in making tax-deductible donations can do so by contacting the mayor’s office.

“I definitely do think that it will leave a mark for us,” Deisy said of the legacy the project, which would be the first completed by the council. “And it will definitely attract a lot of people to come and look at it, and spend a good time there.”

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