Jennah Kuhn, a Northridge Middle School student, paints a rain barrel that will be raffled at the unveiling of Project Jericho s Catching Light mural unveiling at the Clark County Solid Waste District Building on W. Main St. Contributed photo

Mural connects Clark County recycling center, neighborhood with kids

A new light source on West Main Street will shine continuously — it runs on paint instead of electricity.

A mural completed this week by members of Project Jericho and a noted artist will not just brighten the neighborhood, but also make the Clark County Solid Waste District’s building more identifiable and its mission clearer.

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The mural, titled “Catching Light,” depicts a little girl catching lightning bugs in a jar and will be unveiled in a ceremony at the Solid Waste District building, 1602 W. Main St. at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 22.

The work, which began May 1, was led by Colorado-based muralist Mariah Kaminsky and 30 Project Jericho members participated.

“They are learning when you do something great, you don’t just show up. There’s hard work involved,” said Kristi Limes, Project Jericho success coordinator.

The end goal hasn’t been the only gratifying part of the experience. Staff and participants were touched by how much the surrounding neighborhood has taken them in.

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The staff has gotten to know the residents, who have come to watch the mural’s progress and brought them sandwiches. The students have in turn gotten to know the neighbors — and their pets, too.

“We want this block to understand it’s for them, too,” Limes said. “This has been my favorite part of this. This whole community has been good to Project Jericho.”

Crystal stars were among the finishing touches, which will glow at night, adding to the light theme.

It’s the third such mural Project Jericho has painted in Springfield, including the Second Harvest Food Bank building and Springfield Family YMCA. The group has also painted interior spaces for the Clark County Probate Court and Springfield High School.

The recycling center mural was Roosevelt Middle School student Allison Copeland’s first big project and she’s looking forward to going by the building in the future and thinking, “I helped do that.”

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Shelby Byers, a Springfield High freshman, said with one building improved, several others in town could use similar upgrades.

This mural was Kaminsky’s first work with a group. She’s enjoyed working with the kids and their contributions of painting mason jars on the mural.

Kaminsky admits her first impressions of Springfield were rough, but the reception she got once she was here changed her mind.

“The people have been amazingly supportive,” she said. “I can’t tell you how it feels to be thanked.”

Solid Waste District Director Chuck Bauer said he’s already had people stop by just based on the mural, sharing they never knew what went on there and that’s exactly what he hoped for.

“We’re really, really excited. It’s turned out better than expected,” Bauer said. “I can’t say enough about Project Jericho and the sponsors. We’re very happy to have been part of the experience. We hope people will drive by West Main Street to look at it.”

The public is invited to the unveiling event. There will be crafts for children and hot dogs from Mobile Dogs Cafe.

The Clark County Solid Waste District will raffle off a rain barrel painted by Project Jericho participants. Raffle tickets will be available for $1 each or six for $5. The winner of the rain barrel will be announced on Aug. 26 at the Monarch Butterfly Festival.

Project Jericho is a collaborative program of the Clark State Performing Arts Center and the Clark County Department of Job & Family Services, with additional funding provided by the Ohio Arts Council and the Turner Foundation.

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