Bringing Love Back to the Community

  • Mural

Bringing Love Back to the Community

  • Mural

This mural for the Hillside neighborhood and located at Unity Park was a project created in collaboration with the Felege Hiywot Center. The mural tells a story of how the youth and elders of this community came together to help build a public park for their neighborhood.

Public meetings to bring the community together and discuss ideas for a new park started with confrontation between the elders and youth. The elders felt that the youth didn’t respect the neighborhood and the youth felt that the elders did not believe in them. After both sides came to understand each other’s intentions, they were able to share stories about the neighborhood. A local elder and pillar of the community, Ms. Jimmie, inspired the youth through multiple storytelling meetups, sharing her memories of how the community was full of local shops, how safe it used to be, and how families would even sometimes camp out on their front lawns. Later, the youth understood how they could help re-create the neighborhood feeling that seemed as if it had been lost forever.

The mural pays homage to the community that came together by portraying the youth with their plan of action to help & the important storytelling history given from the elders. The QR codes located at the far end of the mural lead to a website that explains the Unity Park mission and another website highlighting the elders of this community, known as the “Greatriarchs”.

Important collaborators for this project were the Harrison Center, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, the Indy Arts Council, and Midwest Arch Solutions. Funding was provided by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful through a grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc.’s 2019 “Strengthening Indianapolis through Arts & Cultural Innovation” program.

Rafael Caro is half of the collaborative team Blend Creative Minds. He and Erica Parker have been painting murals together since 2016. In 2021, they started Chromatic Collective with the help of their artist circle. This brick-and-mortar location serves the community by giving emerging artists and performers a space to sell and showcase their work with more creative freedom than a typical gallery setting. They also provide specialty supplies that artists need for their studio and street art work. Their work can be seen around Indianapolis and the surrounding region including Chicago, IL and Cincinnati, OH.