First mural unveiled in southern Indiana art series meant to uplift Black communities

First mural unveiled in southern Indiana art series meant to uplift Black communities

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. - The words “honor,” “strength,” and “respect” are now painted on the north wall of the former Spring Hill Elementary School in Jeffersonville’s Claysburg neighborhood. Along with images of people gardening, those words are part of the first-ever mural in the historically Black part of the community.

“The history of Claysburg is one where there used to be hospitals, grocery stores, and through policies that have not been favorable to Black communities, you’ve seen those go away,” Jeffersonville Public Art Commissioner, Kofi Darku said.

Darku explained that the mural represents a positive future for the Claysburg neighborhood.

“This mural is literally what we call the next narrative where we have authentic Black voices from Black communities speaking positively about our accomplishments,” he said.

The mural, completed in August by Louisville artist Kacy Jackson, was unveiled with a neighborhood celebration Tuesday during Jeffersonville’s ‘National Night Out.’

Neighborhood Association President Carol Moon said the mural takes inspiration from a community garden just steps away.

“When I look at the images on the mural I think of my grandmother, her planting and tilling her garden. It takes you back to your roots, to your heritage,” she said.

The Claysburg mural is just the first in a series of four pieces called the “Soulful Nourishment” project. It aims to uplift Black voices in Clark County.

“This mural became something to help us have a positive during these difficult times,” Darku said. “As I saw this mural come in, there were people in the community that were like ‘wow, this is giving us so many ideas, I now want to see this happen in the community, I want to see this.’”

Darku secured a $10,000 grant for the project from the Next Narrative for Black America campaign by the BME Community.

Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said he was happy to see the Claysburg neighborhood celebrated.

“As I came around the corner today and saw the huge crowd and the colorful mural, it’s a welcome sight,” he said. “To have everyone here to celebrate this mural and the community garden, take a look around, everyone is happy, this is the way, things should be.”

The next three murals are still in the planning phase. Darku said the second mural will likely be at the Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg.

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