In a year when community gatherings have been put on hold, and festivals and events were all canceled, City of Hastings and Thornapple Arts Council staff members decided that it is still important to bring the arts to the community, even if it looks a little bit different.
Dan King, community development director for the City of Hastings, said the group of TAC and City employees who normally work on Hastings Live decided instead to focus on a new public art display this year.
“This is not our first public art display, but it is certainly our largest and most dynamic,” said King.
“We hated to have to cancel the Hastings Live performances,” said Thornapple Arts Council
Executive Director Megan Lavell, “so we wanted to bring in a different program that got people to the Thornapple Plaza without drawing a large crowd so we can continue to be cautious about Covid-19.”
Lavell said that TAC and City staff decided to ask Nashville artist Shari Carney if she was interested in helping bring the panels to life, and she jumped at the chance to work on her largest project yet. Carney said it took her more than 80 hours to complete the 320 square foot project.
“This project was by far the most ambitious undertaking in my career as an artist,” said Carney. “I was entrusted with the development of the concepts and given full rein on the compositions, color choices and execution. In many ways a dream come true with a few moments of nightmarish terror as I now have a love/hate relationship with spray paint. I'm grateful to have been chosen for this project and hope community members enjoy the results.”
Lavell said it takes a village to bring together arts and cultural programming in Barry County, and this time was no exception. She said Hastings resident and TAC board member Jeff Buehl built the display structures for the panels, and City of Hastings Department of Public Services crew members installed the project at the Thornapple Plaza.
The panels are currently on display at the Thornapple Plaza and will be there for the foreseeable future, said King.
“We hope people will take advantage of this really unique art installation,” he added. “We are really excited to present this to the community.”
For more information about the Community Murals, visit City of Hastings, Hastings Live, or Thornapple Arts Council Facebook pages or thornapplearts.org.