‘Community’ chosen as downtown mural theme

IRON MOUNTAIN — The community has made its choice — and it’s “community.”

After five months of online voting, “community” has emerged as the word that will be the inspiration for the next Power of Words Project wall mural in downtown Iron Mountain.

The Iron Mountain Downtown Development Authority and Ogden Publishing, in conjunction with the Svelata Foundation, released the results this morning.

Local resident Nikki Knueppel suggested the word “community,” which emerged as the winner from among the top 20 words nominated for the project. About 1,700 votes overall were cast.

“From living here when I was younger, to moving back with a child of my own a few years ago, one thing I have seen time and time again is the importance of community and helping one another in this small town,” Knueppel said. “I am always proud to say that I am from this area!”

The second mural will be painted in June on the west façade of The Daily News building at 215 E. Ludington St. in Iron Mountain.

It continues Mia Tavonatti’s Power of Words Project, designed to engage and inspire the public to participate in the creative process by selecting a word that defines the vision they hold for the future of their area.

An artwork based on that word then is designed by Tavonatti, an Iron Mountain native and internationally award-winning artist whose work earned consecutive second and first place honors in Artprize 2010 and 2011.

She and her team of professional muralists, local artists and students on scholarship will work to put up the mural, which the Svelata Foundation and the Iron Mountain DDA estimate will cost about $30,000.

The project will be paid for with grants, corporate sponsorships, public donations and direct funding from the Svelata Foundation.

Event organizers have launched a fundraising effort through Patronicity, a crowdfunding campaign for online donations that will be matched with a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

The goal is to reach $10,000 by April 28, which would mean $20,000 for the project with the MEDC match. Any extra funds raised would be used to prepare walls and create placeholders at additional locations downtown for future murals.

This second Power of Words Project mural also has received a $5,000 Prosperous Places mini-grant, which is supported by the Regional Prosperity Initiative of the Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Regional Commission, or CUPPAD.

The project also benefits from the support of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The funding pays for materials, equipment, sponsorships for local artists and scholarships for local art students who will work with Tavonatti and her team to create the mural.

Those interested in contributing to the Patronicity crowdfunding campaign can go to www.patronicity.com/powerofwords2.

For more information about the project, or artist and scholarship opportunities, go to the Power of Words Project website at www.powerofwordsproject.org or contact Mia@miatavonatti.com.