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Positivity can often be derived from negative situations. In the aftermath of the Orlando Pulse shootings, four artists came together to support an idea fostered by artist and co-founder Faith Kellermeyer.
After bringing in three other artists — Braydee Euliss, Jannell Summers and JoAnna Darda — the We're Trying Collective was formed. Its first project is "On the Mark, For the City," a mural inspired by the LGBTQ+ community.
"Early this summer, after the Pulse nightclub shootings, I had an idea to create a mural. I knew it wasn't the sort of thing I couldn't do on my own, so I started talking to those three friends and as we worked together, we realized we really liked working together, and we want to continue to work as a collective," Kellermeyer said. "It kinda worked backwards. We came up with a project, and then decided this is a thing we want to do longer term."
Currently, the team is raising funds and asking for donations for the project. The fundraising goal is $10,000. Money will go toward designing the mural with the community, paint and sealing the wall for protection.
The mural, which is set to begin in the spring of 2017, will be located next to Mark III Taproom, something Kellermeyer and bar owner Natasha Martz see as key for the meaning behind the project.
"We are the oldest gay bar in Indiana. So, to me, there is no more of a perfect spot for something like that," Martz said. "We just changed venues. We were on Main Street in downtown Muncie just about all of those 50 years. May 21st of this year, we reopened here on South Walnut. So I just feel like the road has kinda lead us all to this point ... Things fall together, you go with it and it's a beautiful thing. I don't feel like there's a better home for that mural."
Members of the project will also be reaching out to the community to partake in the painting of the mural. Not only will the artists reach out to the Muncie community, they will reach out to the Ball State community — something Kellermeyer sees as imperative.
"I came to Muncie as a Ball State student. I'm very interested in bridging the divide between the campus and the downtown community. I think that it would be wonderful to have students come out and help," Kellermeyer said. "Everyone is welcome to come. We definitely want Ball State to be involved in some capacity."
While location plays a huge role in the mural, Martz explains the downtown community also plays a significant role in the acceptance of the mural and the LGBTQ+ community.
"The downtown itself is like a community within a community, and it's a very eclectic group of people from all walks of life. We all accept each other, we look after one another and I feel very blessed to be a part of a community that is like that," Martz said.