Multicultural News

Artists collecting stories to help design west-side community mural

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) —  The community’s voice will be used in the design of a new mural.

Two Indy artists said the goal is to paint the city’s west side in a more accurate light. When outsiders look at the west side, the connotations aren’t always positive. But for the people who’ve called that community home for generations, the connotations are quite different.

There’s a lot of history on the city’s west side. That’s what artists Nasreen Khan and Israel Solomon are hoping to illustrate in their mural, with an emphasis on the characteristics of resilience and change.

“The point of this mural is to show that there has been so much richness and so many people that have created the fabric of the west side,” Kahn said. “And we want to honor that.”

The mural is in the design phase now. When it’s done, it’ll decorate the outside of the Haughville library. They’ve been collecting stories from long time community members like aunts, teachers and everyday neighbors to highlight what this community means. The idea is to let the community tell everyone else its value.

“Think art should be used to document history and to speak for individuals who might not have the chance to speak,” Solomon said.

While they’ll bring the paint and skill to create the image, it’s the community that will have the strongest voice. The White River at the shores of Belmont Beach will be a key focal point.

“Development is now starting to cross the river, but for a long time, this was a geographic boundary,” Khan said. “That boundary, the west side as a place that was undeserved. And of downtown as a place that hogged a lot of the resources.”

During segregation, Belmont Beach is where Black people were forced to come if they wanted to swim since city pools weren’t open to them. Khan lives just around the corner. She said she loves the beauty that’s still there. And that beauty and history will eventually merge into art.

“I have been blessed to create works of art that can be impactful,” Solomon said. “I feel like it’s my duty to use my voice in that way.”

The artists are still collecting community stories to go into the design process. If you don’t catch someone on your street canvasing, you can submit them online.