The Veedersburg Revitalization Association (VRA) is proud to announce that they were recently awarded a Quick Impact Placebased Grant (QuIP) from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) and the Indiana Arts Commission. Nearly $90,000 will be distributed to 18 communities and organizations for quality of place initiatives to fund transformational projects that spark community-wide conversations and creativity. “Creating a place where people want to live is a critical element to creating a sustainable, interconnected community and strong economic development strategy,” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA. “I’m excited to see how these communities will become better connected and filled with such beauty through these grants.” Awarded projects receive grant funds ranging from $2,500 to $5,000.
Veedersburg’s plan, receiving a $5,000 grant, will change vacant and unsightly storefronts into showcases with murals, window coverings and changeable displays. Businesses/buildings that will be receiving transformations are: Burgner Automotive, KBM Heating & Cooling, the old Bus Stop/Cardinal Café, Blue & Gold Pizza and the former Downs TV/Myers Motor Sales. Local artist, Kathy Haas’s, interpretation of previous businesses will be depicted throughout the downtown. They will be designed to reflect several periods in the town’s history. Also included will be a changeable area for displaying items of local interest such as student’s art or historical items. As part of the grant requirements, the VRA is providing a cash and in-kind match and the business owners receiving window upgrades are also contributing towards the project cost.
The VRA’s goal is to make the downtown area more inviting and colorful. Unsightly windows on vacant or buildings being used for storage will be covered with drawn images representing previous eras in the town. In several cases, representation of businesses that actually occupied that building will be used. Most windows will be covered with decals or static clings and areas where windows are fully or partially covered with wood will be replaced with murals hand painted by Kathy Haas. A changeable display area in one window showcasing various art and historical items will be lighted for evening viewing using a solar system. There seems to be a strong local relationship to the community for longtime residents and it’s the hope of the VRA that these representations will illicit greater connections for newcomers and younger residents. Hopefully, they will see a vibrant mix of businesses rather than a collection of dilapidated buildings.
Artist Kathy Haas has completed extensive research on several of the former businesses in town in order to complete this project. In 2018, she painted an historic mural located in Heritage Park for the town’s enjoyment. Kathy received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Purdue University and later a Master’s Degree in Art Education. She taught at Turkey Run, North Vermillion and Fountain Central High Schools, has conducted various art classes at Veedersburg’s d’Arlier Cultural Center and painted numerous play and musical sets for area schools and civic theatres. The VRA is very appreciative of all she has done to make this project, and past ones, a very important part of our community.
There will not be an actual unveiling of the windows because the installation work will be completed in stages and in plain view. However, the hope is to have a short presentation and possibly a walking historical tour of the buildings at a future date. It is the wish of those involved that the window coverings will reflect the history of the town for residents who may be unaware, trigger memories for those that were aware, and encourage those that reside in or pass through Veedersburg.