Big Coca-Cola mural equals big opportunities for Lyon students

Lyon College art students have been busy the past few weeks repainting the historic Coca-Cola mural in downtown Batesville. Painting on approximately a 30-by-90 foot canvas brings big opportunities for the students, including Coca-Cola paying them for their work.

“Having this on your resume [that you’re] working for Coca-Cola is kind of huge,” said senior art student Kacy Perkins. “Because of the mural class we’ve had, I’ve gotten other [projects].”

A large mural of a Coca Cola advertisement covers the side of a brick building.

Perkins said she has been asked to work in costuming with San Francisco Ballet when she returns home after graduation. She isn’t the only one enjoying the fruits of her labor.

Senior art student Mckinley Streett will move to Florence, Italy, after graduation to attend the Studio Arts College International. Streett said her favorite part of repainting the historic mural is the “unique opportunity” to paint an advertisement and to be paid by Coca-Cola.

“I’m not afraid of a 30-by-90 foot canvas anymore,” Streett said. “I probably would not have been able to have this opportunity without Lyon.”

Lyon’s Associate Professor of Art Dustyn Bork taught a murals class last semester which resulted in Lyon art students working on other murals in the Batesville community.

Senior art student and Batesville native, Morgun Henson, said the community’s response to repainting the mural has been overwhelmingly positive, and she is happy to see murals in Batesville “blooming.”

“Art is becoming a growing, important part of our town, which is really awesome, especially as a Batesville native because I love Batesville, and I love art, so it’s great to see those two combined,” Henson said.

Henson is taking a directed study with Bork, focusing on mural painting. She recently completed a mural at White River Medical Center, and she has started another mural downtown.

To repaint the large-scale mural, Bork and his students have been using a lift to scale the building, donated by MCS Construction, and they are using paint donated from Home Depot and Behr.

The opportunity to repaint the mural, which Bork said was originally painted in the late 1920s or early 1930s, came about when the Batesville Chamber of Commerce Tourism Director and Lyon graduate, Kyle Christopher, contacted Bork.

“Kyle’s been really instrumental at making this happen,” said Bork. “[The mural] was clinging for dear life, and [Christopher] orchestrated it [being repainted].”

At Christopher’s suggestion, Bork and his students wrote a proposal to Coca-Cola requesting funding, which Coca-Cola granted. The Batesville Chamber of Commerce and the non-profit Main Street Batesville also contributed funds and materials.

Bork’s favorite part about repainting the mural is his students.

“They’re really taking ownership of this,” he said. “Their craftsmanship is impeccable. I have confidence in any one of them that they could, from start to finish, execute a large-scale mural like this on their own.”

The mural is expected to be finished next week. The Batesville Chamber of Commerce will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, May 9, at 2 p.m., on the corner of Central Avenue and Main Street to celebrate the mural.