Strengthening Local Economies through Community Arts and Culture
(Submitted by Godwin Apaliyah, PhD, educator, OSU Extension-Fayette County)
The Fayette County mural implementation committee recently unveiled to the community the first ever outdoor mural measuring 27 ft. x 44 ft. located at the County Farmers Market. The mural painting was a partnership project between the City of Washington Court House and Fayette County community and economic development. The ceremony brought in many people from the community. The goal of this project is to promote the community’s arts and culture heritage through mural painting that has the potential of increasing economic and community development opportunities.
It is well known that community arts and culture contribute to positive economic outcomes, especially in weak economic areas such as rural communities. When arts and culture are expressed or communicated in the form of mural painting, the potential exists to create jobs, attract tourists and investments that stimulate local economies growth.
Community arts and cultural activities encourage community involvement and participation. In addition, the potential of people to understand themselves, change how they see the world, reinforce community pride and identity lend to the community’s hopes to foster positive growth.
The preservation of cultural heritage and history can bridge cultures and racial boundaries. Community mural painting promotes community building, an effort to rebuild the social, civil, physical, and spiritual fabrics of a community.
Major funding for the project came from OSU Community Connectors grants, CenterPoint Foundation (Formerly Vectren Foundation), and the Ohio Arts Council. Local sponsors include Kiger and Kiger LLC and community residents. The mural painting was designed and painted by Eric Henn, a muralist.
Borrup, T., McNulty, R. (2006). The Creative Community Builder's Handbook: How to Transform Communities Using Local Assets, Arts, and Culture. Fieldstone Alliance