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Downtown mural completed

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LEAVING HER MARK: Sandra Fettingis paints her name and the year to complete her mural on the eastern side of Gem City Junction in downtown Frankfort.
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LARGE-SCALE ART: With the help of local volunteers, Denver-based artist Sandra Fettingis created a large mural on the eastern wall of Gem City Junction along Jackson Street.

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

Denver-based artist Sandra Fettingis signed her name and the year in white paint at about 6:30 p.m. Monday to complete her newest mural on the eastern wall of the Gem City Junction at 63 E. Clinton St. in Frankfort. With the final stroke of her paintbrush, Fettingis added her work to a growing number of murals in the Gem City.

Fettingis was selected by the Tippecanoe Art Federation (TAF) which funded the project through a grant from the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network.

“I love it,” said Jamie Anderson, who represents Clinton County on the TAF advisory council. “I loved her concept and what she was trying to get through with her work and the ‘Gem City’ concept. It is a little abstract. If you look at where the lines meet, it sparkles a little bit.”

The mural is easily seen from Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes’ office in Old Stoney.

“I applaud (Jamie Anderson) for really spearheading this initiative along with the Tippecanoe Art Federation and the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network, and I believe it brings much pride to our downtown and adds to the ongoing revitalization in our city’s core,” he said.

McBarnes said he is glad to see several murals appear around Frankfort over the last few years.

“There is one that resembles the state of Indiana on North Jackson Street, and we now have this,” he said. “I believe there are even more plans in the works. I think it is something that our downtown can become known for, and I would also like to see historic murals restored on the sides of buildings in the future.

“We have facade grants available for this through our redevelopment commission. That would cover up to 50 percent of a mural. Since it has to do with the facade of a building, that would be applicable. Those application forms can be found on our city website (frankfort-in.gov/).”

Anderson said she is glad to see the mural add to a downtown that continues to change.

“I think it is great,” Anderson added. “I am excited to see what the new park looks like. I think it will be great. I think the changes are good.

“I really hope that the owners of Gem City Junction are happy with the mural,” she added. “I know they were really kind to (Fettingis). They were really nice to her. I thought the artist was great. She was so sweet, nice and warm. She was great to work with and talk to. Anyone who wanted to help, she was great with directions and everything. My son, who is 14, went up there to help when he was on fall break. Whoever wanted to help, she was so welcoming. This is her 36th mural, so she has worked with communities before.”

Fettingis said it feels good to leave a community or a neighborhood with her artwork.

“I think it always feels good once I hear feedback from the locals about how it impacts them,” she said. “Generally, people express positivity and that it brightens their day. It gives them something to enjoy visually while they are going from point A to point B. People are genuinely saying these things, and it is heartwarming.

“I think something that I am learning by doing work as a traveling artist is that it’s valuable to not only me but to the town that I am working in – aside from the piece of art that is made, all these connections are made that I take home now to tell my friends and family about. Before, I didn’t know about Frankfort, and now I have these stories and experiences to share. I think that then widens the audience and puts eyes on the community.”