Zionsville Cultural District Showcases Zionsville’s Past and Present with Public Art
This month, Zionsville Monthly is proud to feature on the cover the town of Zionsville’s brand-new public art installation off Main Street presented by the Zionsville Cultural District. The latest installation of public art honors the historic district’s past while celebrating its evolution into the present day.
The purpose of ZCD is to promote Zionsville’s diverse art, culture, history and community assets to residents, visitors and potential employers to enhance interest in Zionsville, increase tourism and stimulate economic development. We spoke with ZCD Board President Steve Mundy about the latest public art installation as well as ZCD’s goals for 2023.
A Glimpse of Main Street’s Past
The six black-and-white historic images that were selected to be on display, visible to both pedestrians and those driving along Main Street, showcase Zionsville’s character and growth simultaneously.
“We are really happy with the way it came together,” Mundy expressed. “It’s obvious and visible, right there on Main Street, so both residents and visitors will see it. The SullivanMunce [Cultural Center] was instrumental in this project. With access to their files of old historic photographs and the help of Cynthia [Young], who looked through microfiche to get details on some of the photographs, they were a big contributor to this [public art] project.”
One of the sources of inspiration for this specific public art display came from ZCD Board Vice President Mark Nagy, who saw a similar display while touring a small village in Italy.
“Last summer, Mark was in Italy and visited a small village with a population of only 300–400,” Mundy shared. “He saw old historic photographs of the village and of some of its residents over the years that were in public spaces. So, the thought behind the project was that if we could find a great alleyway to do that with some incredible historic photographs, find the funds and then convince a building owner to allow us to install the images, we felt that we could something like that too.”
According to Mundy, the ZCD Public Art Committee sorted through hundreds of old photographs that were provided by the SullivanMunce Cultural Center located in Zionsville. When asked how the committee decided on the six images, Mundy responded, “We wanted to focus largely on Main Street, since that is the most known street in Zionsville to both residents and visitors. We wanted to catch a glimpse over time, so the earliest photograph in this collection is from 1905 and the most recent one was around 1960. In some of the images, you can certainly see that the buildings are still here and are still being used. They are recognizable to people who are familiar with Main Street. We could afford to include six images in this collection, and these are the six that were [ultimately] chosen.”
Public Art and Local Partnerships
Mundy graciously gave credit to all of the local people and organizations who made this public art installation possible.
“The building itself — the Bender Building — has a little unusual side façade,” Mundy explained. “It’s a porcelain tile block building on the side, and there’s a wide alley with a lot of visibility for people walking or driving on Main Street. The Benders have been longtime residents, and we thought they might be receptive to the idea. The building is owned by the Bender Family Limited Partnership. So, we approached the family matriarch, Delores Bender, who, with the input of her children, made the decision to go with it, and we were really thrilled with that [decision].”
Mundy added, “We have ensured the Bender family that if the photographs should ever be removed in the future, the façade could be immediately restored to its original condition. The installation was completed by a local company — A Sign By Design. The photographic images were printed by a company in Indianapolis called Repro Graphix, who printed these [six] images using aluminum that is bonded onto another board and is weatherproof through a process called Dibond®. And Don R. Fitzpatrick Fine Art did a lot of the digital cleanup on the photographs to make them as good as they could be before blowing them up [to] the large sizes that we used. They’re each a little different size, and all are quite large, so to be seen from some distance.”
Since its inception, ZCD has made remarkable strides in garnering the support of the community, and its public art initiatives are funded by the support of individuals, organizations and the municipality.
Mundy shared how this specific public art display was funded.
“Holliday Farms made a sizable contribution to establish an endowment through the Community Foundation of Boone County, on behalf of ZCD, at the end of 2021,” Mundy said. “That provided us with funding for a number of things. At that time, the Community Foundation was offering a matching grant for not-for-profit organizations up to a certain dollar level. So, we got the benefit of the matching grant along with the endowment, and in addition to some other funds provided by donations made to ZCD for public art, we were able to cover all of the costs related to this project.”
A Crucial Piece of Zionsville’s Culture
The ZCD Value Statement expresses that its board of directors are “A tapestry of skill, commitment, points of view and desire to bring forth to the Town of Zionsville a broad representation of art, history, and culture for all to enjoy and participate in. We will never discriminate or tolerate discrimination against our fellow neighbor or visitor based on race, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion or on any other basis. We honor and respect everyone’s personal journey through life and we conduct ourselves in relation to each other with integrity and kindness.”
Examples of the board’s work and commitment to its mission to “enrich the lives of residents and visitors by promoting and celebrating our arts, history and culture,” include the popular — and FREE — summer ZCD Concert Series, Dahlia Giveaway, and the much beloved Sidewalk Poetry Contest. These signature events contribute to the remarkable Zionsville culture, as do ZCD’s public art initiatives. These projects and events do rely on the generosity and support of local residents, businesses and organizations. Mundy shared that those interested in making a monetary donation can contribute to the ZCD endowment through the Community Foundation of Boone County or they can donate online or via U.S. postal mail.
“We are hoping to raise funds to do another large [public art] mural,” Mundy said. “By large, I mean on the side of a building like the Lincoln mural back on 1st Street. If people would like to make a contribution, they can do so on our website, and we have a mailing address, which is P.O. Box 103 Zionsville, IN, 46077.”
Public Art Committee members 2022
President – Steve Mundy
Susan Schube, Mamata Patel, Liz Ellis
2023 ZCD Board officers and members
President – Steve Mundy
VP – Mark Nagy
Secretary – Erika Revercomb
Treasurer – Candace Ulmer
Director – Liz Ellis
Director – Christine Fitzpatrick
Past president/Director – Carla Howie
Director – Casey Maish
Director – Mamata Patel
Director – Susan Schube