Brightening up Sullivant Avenue

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By Andrea Cordle
Westside Editor

Messenger photo by Andrea Cordle
Stephanie Rond installs her public art piece at 2160 Sullivant Ave., as part of the Sullivant Bright project. She painted turtles coming out of their shells to represent people starting to come out of their shells after the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Brighter days are ahead for the Hilltop thanks to a public art project.

The city of Columbus invested $10 million in infrastructure improvements along Sullivant Avenue from Interstate 70 to Hague Avenue. Of that investment, $200,000 has been set aside for a public art installation project, called Sullivant Bright.

Josh Lapp, with Design Local, presented the art project at the Greater Hilltop Area Commission meeting on June 1. Design Local is the firm tasked with overseeing the public art project.

“We wanted to bring some positive energy to Sullivant Avenue,” said Lapp.

Starting June 7, artists were out doing temporary street murals.

“The artists have free reign,” said Lapp.

Lapp said some of the artists will not be permitted to use human faces or words in their work because this project is along a major roadway, and it is not meant to create a distraction for drivers or pedestrians.

The artists will create temporary murals on the street pavement in locations where the city will construct bus bulbs and curb extensions. The murals will last about one year. Some of the locations where the art can be found is along Sullivant Avenue near Wheatland Avenue, Whitethorne Avenue, and near Burroughs Elementary School.

There will be a few semi-permanent street murals on Sullivant at Whitethorne Avenue and Burroughs Elementary School. These will not be removed by the construction project and would have a lifespan of about five years.

According to Lapp, the project at Burroughs Elementary School will reflect the school’s centennial with artwork and poetry.

“The artists will chalk paint poems,” said Lapp. “It is all age appropriate.”

According to Lapp, the artists are representative of the diversity in the Hilltop.

“This all sounds really cool,” said Hilltop commissioner Jennie Keplar. “We have a lot of artists in the Hilltop. It would be cool to get the locals involved.”

Lapp said some of the participating artists have ties to the westside.

“This is lovely,” said commissioner Zerqa Abid.

Abid said she would like to see additional locations for public art and would like the area youth to participate.

Infrastructure work began in 2020. The project is rehabilitating the roadway, repairing sidewalks, upgrading traffic signals and streetlights, constructing curb extensions, bus bulbs and pedestrian refuge islands to support safe mobility for those who use Sullivant Avenue. Upgrades and construction are scheduled to be complete in 2022.

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