New public art murals installed in downtown Mt. Pleasant

When it became clear that Art Reach of Mid Michigan was going to have to cancel their annual Paint the Pavement event, a safety precaution resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mt. Pleasant-based arts organization was forced to pivot — and quickly.

What’s resulted is a new public art installation downtown.

Three murals have been installed on Mosher Street facing north toward the Isabella County Courthouse. They’re the work of local artist and Central Michigan University faculty member Sylvia Methner Coon of Shy Moon Studio, who won the juried competition at Art Reach’s Art Walk Central in 2019.

The paintings are whimsical and fairy tale-like, something that Art Reach executive director Amy Powell believes helped win the commission.

“Sylvia’s art has a tendency to appeal to a lot of people,” Powell says.

The work was funded through a $2,550 grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, administered locally by the Saginaw Arts & Enrichment Commission and received by the City of Mt. Pleasant.

Originally intended to fund the Paint the Pavement event, Art Reach approached the city about reallocating the grant for a public art installation. Art Reach presented the city with a group of artists and Methner Coon’s work was selected.

The site has previously hosted public art before. Art Reach worked with CMU students and the city to install murals with a plywood base, but the plywood base deteriorated over time and the site has been left bare for over a year.

Powell says that the new murals use a better-treated plywood with sealed edges and silicon caulk around the heads of the bolts to ensure a longer lasting public art installation.

“The hope is that people visit the murals and take pictures with the murals,” Powell says.

“Public art is important because it’s an avenue for everyone to enjoy art. You don’t have to go inside a building or gallery to see it.

“It remains accessible to everyone in the community.”

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