After an entire summer of work, the Bath Community Mural Project is complete! More than 540 members of the Bath community contributed to painting the panels that are now installed and on display at Wiswasser Park. I’m so proud!

The Bath Public Art Committee held a dedication ceremony on Wednesday evening, August 28th, where in addition to members of the public there were representatives from the Wiswasser family, the Board of Trustees, the Parks and Recreation Committee, and the Clinton County Board of Commissioners in attendance. It was a lovely ceremony, and I wanted to commemorate the mural on the Gallery website as well. Mostly I’d like to express gratitude to some key players, but I’m also going to brag a bit more about this project—it’s just such an exciting moment for Bath!

There are far too many people to thank individually—like I said, more than 540 people helped us paint—but there are a lot of people whose help was instrumental over the course of this summer. This same list has been installed in plaque form and can be found in Wiswasser Park with the mural.

First, a huge thank you to all the groups and individuals who sponsored this project and made it possible: the Bath Township Board of Trustees, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Arts Council of Greater Lansing, Kathryn Sutton, the Fewins-Bliss Family, Dan Stockwell, Home Depot of Okemos, the Mid-States Bolt & Screw Co. of Lansing, and Elliot Food Equipment of Lansing. BPAC, the Bath community, and I are all very thankful to you for your help!

Next, special thanks to those who lent their time, energy, and talent to the project: Pamela Timmons (a fellow BPAC member), Lexi Flint, Jim Wolnosky, and Grace Eggleston. Thank you all for your help—it was a lot of fun to flex our artistic muscle together this summer!

Of course, thanks to the other members of the Bath Public Arts Committee. Dan Wietecha, Matt Wendling, Donna Clingersmith, and Pamela Timmons were vital to getting this mural started. Without them this could have only ever been a lovely idea. Thank you all so much for you service to the Bath community, with this mural and all you’ve done for BPAC!

And finally, thank you to anyone who came out and painted with us, spread the word about our project, or did anything at all to help move this project forward.

Now I’m going to geek out a bit about this mural—because it’s so cool! For starters, it’s Bath’s first work of public art. That’s automatically a cool distinction, so we’ll take it. (First!) It’s pretty clear that people were excited about it, too: those of us working the various painting events this summer were thanked repeatedly for putting the mural together for the community. 

More importantly though, this really was a community project! We decided early on that we wanted to include as many members of our community as possible, and that the best way to accomplish that was to make it a giant paint-by-number. I designed the panels to have simple shapes with clear outlines, then we tested a bunch of color combinations until we got the final palettes. We assigned a certain palette to each section, and from there it was all up to the public! By our count more than 540 people painted at least one section at some point during the summer. We put out the panels at various events, let them choose a section, gave them their paint, and let them paint their section in whatever way they desired. We were constantly impressed by the creativity everyone showed—especially by the many people who said, “oh no, I can’t paint, you don’t want me to paint.” Those people can paint! 

The really cool part about how many people helped is that now, if you visit the mural, you’re pretty likely to see people pointing out different sections and saying, “my grandchildren painted that part!” or “that was my section!” The community is proud of its work, and it should be!

One last brag: we worked with local wildlife enthusiasts to populate the mural entirely out of birds, fish, plants, and critters that can be found around Park Lake. This ties the mural very closely to our community and points to all the creatures that call us neighbors. In that way I hope the mural will be a gateway to wonder for the natural world in its viewers.

So thank you again to everyone and anyone who lent us a hand this summer, we hope you enjoyed your part, and please go check out the mural–it really turned out well, and we’re so proud!