Every community has spaces that can be transformed from unloved and uninspired pass-throughs to points of neighborhood pride. If we can identify these spaces, and reimagine them, then we can enrich the lives of our residents and build a stronger community. This is the mindset behind the formation of the Harrison West Mural Project, a collective of Harrison West neighbors and friends, working in partnership with the Harrison West Society, to install a series of murals on and around the tunnel associated with State Route 315 on the Olentangy Trail in Harrison West.
For years, this location has been recognized as a missed opportunity. The space is heavily trafficked, with approximately 500,000 visitors per year. It is dynamic and visually interesting, a veritable maze of bridges and tunnels that playfully alter light and space. Yet it’s blank concrete sits unused, and chain-link fencing, masked graffiti, and trash from the nearby highway, lend an air of neglect. In addition, the 120 ft tunnel associated with this site feels oppressive and unsafe due to its gray interior and dim lighting.
The goal of this project is to transform this unique space into an art destination that celebrates the character of Harrison West, the talent of local artists, and the artistic legacy of the Short North. With a little creativity, this space has the potential be become one of the most memorable art installations in the city. And luckily for us, Columbus is exploding with the artistic talent that we need to transform this space. The time is now.
Harrison West Arts hopes to commission a team of local artists to install murals on both the exterior walls associated with the tunnel under 315 N, as well as the interior walls of the tunnel. Additional lighting will be installed in the tunnel. The area will be cleared of trash, and trees will be planted near the chain link fence on the west side of the trail in order to provide shade. These trees will also shield the area off from the highway above.
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