Local art to be featured along Franklin streets

Four Johnson County artists will be featured on banners to hang from light poles in downtown Franklin.

The selections for the banner project were presented to the Franklin Board of Public Works and Safety last week after the Franklin Public Arts Advisory Commission selected the artists.

This is the first public art project to come to fruition for the young commission, established in December 2020, to propose art projects and advise the mayor’s office on public art matters.

About 15 artists submitted work to the city, most of which came from local artists and graphic designers, said Dana Monson, the city’s community development specialist. All four artists chosen live in Johnson County, and three live in Franklin, she said.

Franklin graphic artist Dustin Brenton’s work will adorn 30 banners to be hung in 15 sets of two on King Street, from Paris Drive to the Eastview Drive roundabout. Brenton is a former Daily Journal staff member.

The banner sets will say “Welcome” and “Franklin” in alternating text and alternate between four images: a picture of Benjamin Franklin, the Johnson County Courthouse, the ArtCraft Theatre marquee and the curly water slide at the Franklin Family Aquatic Center.

Art from Franklin artist Greg Potter’s Animals Out of their Element series will be featured on 16 banners on East and West Court streets. The series depicts animals doing human activities such as taking a stroll and riding in a boat.

Two floral banner displays were chosen for North and South Main streets from two different artists.

Abstract flowers by Greenwood artist Michelle Johnson will be displayed on seven banners on North Main Street, from Jefferson to Madison streets.

Flower paintings by Franklin artist Kelli Park will be featured on 11 banners on South Main Street from Monroe Street to the bridge over Young’s Creek.

The banner sets serve two different purposes. The King Street banners set a welcoming tone for visitors and residents coming in from the east, while the downtown banners add to the beauty of downtown and showcase local art, Monson said.

The cost of the project is estimated at about $14,400, including $9,500 in artist fees and printing costs and $4,900 to add banner hanging brackets to downtown light poles. The artist fees will be paid from the commission’s budget, while the board of works will pay for the brackets, she said.

Banners will be up for most of the year and will be expected to last about two years. Banners will be taken down annually to display flags for the Fourth of July and holiday lights during the winter holiday season, Monson said.

The hope is to have the banners ready to display for Discover Downtown Franklin’s Ethos Celebration of the Arts, but that will depend on the printer’s schedule, she said.

The commission is also working with Indiana American Water on the mural to be painted on its downtown water tower, and is seeking approval for Franklin to become a designated arts and cultural district through the Indiana Arts Commission, Monson said.

The designation would put the Franklin art scene more firmly on the map, draw in more tourists and open up more arts funding opportunities, she said.