Mural considered for Reynoldsburg Schools


By Sarah Thomas
Staff Writer

ADAMH officials presented information on a potential mural project to the Reynoldsburg City Schools Board of Education, highlighting the Livingston Avenue Performing Arts Center as a possible location.

ADAMH, the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County, has sponsored mural projects in several other communities across central Ohio, including Whitehall, Westerville, Dublin and Franklinton.

ADAMH uses the murals to educate the public and reduce stigma around mental health and substance abuse issues.

They met with Reynoldsburg community members last year to get feedback on what is important to them about the community. Their goal is to create unity and a creative representation of the community.

“The end result is a creative representation of the community that you created and brings everyone together,” said Kevin Dixon, a representative of ADAMH.

Eliza Ho, an artist who worked on the Franklinton mural, said that each site in Columbus has its own unique feel because it is representative of the community and it belongs to the community.

“Individual happiness relates to community happiness,” said Ho.

Ho said you don’t need artistic talent to participate, because it is more of a paint by numbers approach for community involvement. They do have professional artists who will come in at the end to touch up the mural, so it still has that sense of a professional piece.

Board Vice President Debbie Dunlap praised how many people came to the first meeting to talk about the mural and what it means for wellness, mental health and happiness, but expressed concerns about potential vandalism and graffiti.

ADAMH will support the mural for seven to 10 years, and will provide timely repairs if needed, said Ho. She added that only one repair has been needed in all the central Ohio murals.

Dixon addressed concerns on the connection between ADAMH and public art. He said this is an approach to reach out with new efforts and education to connect with those that won’t reach out for help with mental health.

Dunlap further connected these efforts to concerns of bullying in school. It is a way to address bullying before it is a problem, not always on the back end, she said.

It would be an opportunity for students to get involved, both in the planning, design and painting. The Reynoldsburg High School Student Council and (HS)2 Art & Advocacy are fundraising to create a “fight cancer” mural in (HS)2 STEM Academy.

The next steps for the ADAMH mural involve finalizing the location, which they hope to do at the next board meeting. Depending on weather, it will take about six to nine months to finish the mural.

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