New murals planned to beautify stretch of Monon Trail

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It's out with the old and in with the new along a stretch of the Monon Trail. New murals are being painted from 52nd to 54th Street.

The idea is to help improve the public space, beautify the few blocks of the Monon and create something that makes people feel good.

There were already murals there, but they were 15 years old and showing age.

"I think if it were my art , to see how much it's chipped and decayed I don't think it has the same sense, and I would hope that knowing it's being covered by new art would mean something to them," said Holly Combs with the non-profit group, Department of Public Words.

Volunteers started covering up those old paintings Tuesday morning, priming 44 panels - 600 feet of space - that will eventually become a new mural.

"Oh my god!," exclaimed a cyclist peddling down the Monon Trail as she looked at the work.

"If you're running by you can have something different to look at," said Laurren Brown, as she covered up one of the old murals. "I know that people have wanted these fixed or redone for the last couple years so I'm really glad that we get to do it."

Each panel will be a train car, an ode to the former use of the Monon Trail as train tracks. Each car will have positive messages of hope and peace.

"Simple words in public spaces can stop someone dead in their tracks and bring them from sad to joyful and that makes it all worth it," Combs said.

Department of Public Words, which uses positive words and public art to empower the community, is behind the art project, securing $14,000 in private funds for the very public display.

"I think obviously it's going to make you feel better about your community and make you want to come out and just see things," said Andy Shriner as he jogged past with his wife and daughter.

And that's the whole point. By cleaning up the old and creating new, a community conversation will follow suit, and make Indianapolis better.

"We really need peace in our city and this being so close to Broad Ripple, I hope brings changes because we're encouraging people to be their best self," said Combs.

Once the priming is complete the painting will begin. Starting this Saturday and continuing every Saturday for the next two months, volunteers will paint and create.

If you'd like to volunteer, visit dpwords.org.