Starting last fall, Lyon College has offered a murals class, where students spend the semester working on a mural project for a building in Batesville. Students from the class have created four murals so far, the first of the spring murals class having just been completed.
“Last semester we had the opportunity to work on three murals,” said art student Morgun Henson. “We learned from a couple outside artists about different techniques they used, and we also learned about the process of working with the stakeholders to agree on a design.”
Under the direction of Associate Professor of Art Dustyn Bork, Henson and five other students worked with artists Steve Adair and Grace “PHLOX” Engel to paint a mural in Pocket Park on Main Street, another mural at the Law Offices of Fuller Bumpers on Broad Street, and a mural at the dispatch office for the Independence County Sheriff’s Department.
“It’s awesome to see the visual impact in the community,” said Bork. “Batesville is experiencing a bit of a Renaissance downtown and it’s been rewarding to play a small part in that.”
The fourth and most recent project is Henson’s mural in The Stepping Stone at White River Medical Center, an adult psychiatric unit. The mural depicts stepping stones leading toward a mountain in the distance.
Henson first took the murals class in the fall semester, and she is now taking the course again as a directed study with Bork.
“When Dustyn [Bork] suggested the Stepping Stones location I was immediately interested,” said Henson. “The idea of creating art while making a positive impact is something I am very passionate about, so I said yes right then and there.”
Henson said her inspiration was her passion for mental health.
“I wanted to make sure it was calming, peaceful, and encouraging,” she said. “The facility has very bare walls, and it exudes a mundane vibe, so I deliberately chose vibrant colors that draw the viewer’s attention…I played around with several ideas, and decided on the mountains to represent the challenges we all have to overcome. The journey can be rough, but after you get to the top you feel like you can conquer the world. This is the message I wanted to convey and I think it is very appropriate for the setting it is in.”
Henson said she has received positive feedback so far from the facility and its patients.
“I had some amazing conversations with patients about the impact art has on their life,” she said. “It brings back good memories for them, and it was incredible to give them a slice of joy in an oftentimes scary place. I hope this mural continues to bring those happy feelings in the patients’ lives.”