Katy Strass, director of the Huntington Arts & Entrepreneurial Center and executive director of the LaFontaine Arts Council, addressed the City of Huntington’s Common Council on Tuesday, Feb. 9, hand in hand with America Carrillo, local artist, to introduce Carrillo’s work on the “Yes You Can” project.
Strass explained the project will provide a mural on 3,000 square feet of wall, to be painted between March and May, on a building located at 500 N. Jefferson St.
“(America) has approached the LaFontaine Arts Council for support,” says Strass, “and what we want to do is be an agent to help promote and fundraise for this project.
“We got really excited about it, because the main focus of the LaFontaine Arts Council is arts in education.
“She has this really awesome idea of supporting educational efforts, so we want to get our youths involved, especially our high school students that are interested in art and perhaps would like to do something in the future that is similar to this.
“There is a mentee-mentor aspect to this project, so we are all for those kinds of things and getting the community active again.”
Carrillo has been working with the property owners to come up with different imagery for the mural.
The mural is a “360 mural” Carrillo explained, which she says is “extremely rare to see, not only in Huntington County… but in any big city you go to. Good luck finding a whole building of murals. This is a really big deal, and as you can tell I’m excited.”
Strass explained the project will cost $16,000. Carrillo has marketed the project herself.
In planning and marketing the murals, Carrillo is seeking financial backing from the community. In return for donations, she has offered a public vote, allowing GoFundMe donors to vote on the image to be painted on one side of the building.
Three different images can be voted for with fundraising dollars. One dollar equals one vote.
Currently, Carrillo’s GoFundMe fundraiser has a goal of $8,000. At press time, $4,959 had been raised. Voting will be open through March. The option with the most votes at the end of the voting period will be the winning mural. On the GoFundMe page, Carrillo says she will contact donors directly to confirm which mural option they would like to vote for.
Strass says Carrillo’s “Yes You Can” mural project relates to Huntington’s Community Arts Plan, established in 2018.
“This project does touch on (the goals established in the plan), so we are just super excited that America is coming back to do another great big project,” says Strass.
“We are all collectively supporting America in this project that she is undertaking, and it is wonderful that we can support her as a working artist, and a community asset to Huntington.”
Last September, Carrillo painted a mural at 35 W. Market St., Huntington, as part of the Make It Your Own Mural Fest.
Her GoFundMe page is www.go fundme.com/f.yesyoucan46750.