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Interactive Mural Encourages Community to Engage in Downtown

Jessica Buchholz by Jessica Buchholz, Events Coordinator | March 12, 2020

Last week was a fluttering of activity in downtown Emporia! The sun was shining, the weather teased of spring, Trox Gallery and Gifts held their Grand Opening and several Emporians and visitors took a moment to transform themselves in to a butterfly!
After several months of planning, working on designs, and discussing with the appropriate channels, our Design committee along with the expertise of Coffelt Sign Company completed the installation of the first ever interactive mural in downtown Emporia. Since going up last Tuesday we have received hundreds of positive comments on our social media accounts, several calls, and TONS of people stopping by to take their picture.
And as with any Main Street Project, there is a purpose to our process. The need for more public art in the downtown has been a discussion for quite sometime. There’s a lot of data that shows public art can help to create a sense of place and a unique destination for tourists, increasing foot traffic and boosting the local economy.
Public art can range in concepts, size and placement. Our design committee wanted to work on a concept that was rather easy to install and maintain, appealed to a wide audience, and was cost effective.
While permanent murals can be beautiful, they often pose several installation issues and can be costly to commission and maintain. Coffelt Sign Company presented us with the idea of doing a temporary mural with a metal material that could be produced in full color and adhered to the side of our brick building without causing any damage when the print is removed.
After posting on our social media accounts (and the tons of pictures circulating from others) we received several calls from local businesses and other communities on how to replicate this project at their business or within their communities.
There are several items that need to be addressed with a project like this and working with Coffelt Sign Company helped make this a smooth process. The design and accessibility of your mural is very important. Public art in transit-oriented areas presents a valuable marketing opportunity for communities and businesses. Sometimes is is hard to get shoppers to stop at your store – but if you provide a platform for interaction (like stopping to take a picture) you might just catch their attention and pique their interest in finding out more.

About the Author

Jessica Buchholz, Events Coordinator

Jessica Buchholz is the Community Development Coordinator for Emporia Main Street in Emporia, Kansas. She specializes in event planning, volunteer recruitment, alternative marketing, media/public relations and fundraising. During Jessica's tenure at Emporia Main Street, she has helped grow events to an international level and she has created a series of new activities to meet organizational goals.


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