Campustown receives new artwork

Sarah Haas

The north wall of the T Galaxy store in Campustown came to life Sunday.

After two weeks of nonstop painting, Ames Collaborative Art [Ames] put the finishing touches on the mural that depicts well-known Ames features, including CyRide and the Smiles & Gyros stands.

Kristin Roach, head of the mural’s design committee, said she was inspired to create a mural because Ames lacks public art.

“There’s some graffiti in Campustown, but otherwise there are few places people have the opportunity to see something like this,” Roach said.

Melissa Tedone, Ames public relations chair, said the project began last fall. After discussions with the owner of T Galaxy, group representatives began working with city officials to obtain the appropriate permits in order to host a public art project in Campustown.

“The wall is on private property, but we had to apply for a variety of public permits in order to stand on public space and put our paint out on the street,” Tedone said. “We also had to close metered parking in the lot directly north of the building.”

Roach headed the mural’s design committee. The committee asked community members to submit their ideas for what the mural should contain. Tedone said Ames received more than two dozen mural design submissions and a large number of written suggestions.

“We were really interested to see what people thought makes Ames, Ames,” Tedone said.

Roach and the committee were surprised to see similar suggestions in the submissions. CyRide and the Super Dog and gyros stands were common themes.

“I think people tried to include the fact that Ames is a very diverse place,” Tedone said.

Roach and the design committee took some of the suggestions, added them with their own ideas and created the mural that is currently being painted.

The group received a grant for the paint. In order to save money, the designers intentionally chose to use a limited number of colors.

From 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Ames members and dedicated volunteers busily scraped, prepped and painted the wall. Along the way, they welcomed volunteers from the community.

The firefighters from the Ames Fire Department station in Campustown spent afternoons painting, while passersby took up paintbrushes after inquiring about the project.

“We really want people to come help us put together the mural,” Tedone said before painting began.

Although some people may feel uncomfortable with their artistic qualifications, she said painting a mural does not require any skill. The design team sketched the design of the mural, and the volunteers were only responsible for painting blocks of color.

Roach said she hopes to produce annual community art projects from now on.