New sidewalk mural brings interactive touch to Civic Center Park

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published November 6, 2020

 Standing by the new sidewalk mural at Civic Center Park are, from the front, Madison Heights City Manager Melissa Marsh, Madison Heights Arts Board member Laurie Geralds, Madison Heights City Councilman Mark Bliss, Madison Heights Mayor Roslyn Grafstein, Madison Heights Arts Board member Vita Palazzolo, Madison Heights City Councilwoman Kymm Clark and Madison Heights Arts Board member Eve Sandoval.

Standing by the new sidewalk mural at Civic Center Park are, from the front, Madison Heights City Manager Melissa Marsh, Madison Heights Arts Board member Laurie Geralds, Madison Heights City Councilman Mark Bliss, Madison Heights Mayor Roslyn Grafstein, Madison Heights Arts Board member Vita Palazzolo, Madison Heights City Councilwoman Kymm Clark and Madison Heights Arts Board member Eve Sandoval.

Photo provided by Roslyn Grafstein

Advertisement

MADISON HEIGHTS — A new mural that resembles a game of hopscotch invites park-goers to play along as they walk the trail at Civic Center Park.

Illustrated by local artist and resident Eve Sandoval, the sidewalk mural is a series of panels drawn in bright pastel hues of green, blue, yellow and pink. Each panel has different rules, such as “whistle,” “hop forward,” hop twice,” “hop like a bunny,” “spin” and more.

With its curvy lines and eye-catching colors, the mural is bound to attract the young and the young at heart. It’s also yet another way that the city is injecting new vibrancy and life into its green spaces.

The sidewalk mural at Civic Center Park was completed Oct. 19. And it won’t be the only one: When the weather warms up next year, the plan is to add a second one at Civic Center Park, as well as two or more sidewalk murals at Ambassador Park, Edison Park, Monroe Park and Rosie’s Park.     

“The purpose is to create a fun and exciting environment for children and adults while attending our parks,” said Sandoval, who is also a member of the Madison Heights Arts Board that backed the project. “We invite them to take pictures of themselves interacting with the murals and share them on social media. The project concept is to teach, exercise and explore one’s imagination.

“There will be murals with numbers, colors, games, jumping, and even roaring like a lion or hopping like a frog,” Sandoval said. “The Arts Board is excited to take on this project with the support of Parks and Recreation. As the chair of the subcommittee for the interactive mural project, I feel these are going to be a great addition to our city parks.”  

Madison Heights City Councilman Mark Bliss said that the sidewalk mural is the first initiative by the Arts Board that wasn’t funded by private donations, but rather by small budget savings. In the 2019 budget cycle, Bliss was able to identify and reallocate increases in office supplies and some differences in contract actuals that amounted to nearly $10,000 in savings.

These in turn funded minigrants that the City Council subsequently awarded to quality-of-life initiatives by resident-led boards, such as the Arts Board, the Environmental Citizens Committee, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and the Library Advisory Board. The Arts Board received $2,000 in seed money to fund annual arts events and $800 toward interactive art in the parks, such as the sidewalk mural.

“This interactive mural is both beautiful and an experience for the children who visit Civic Center Park. I know my kids truly enjoyed playing on it, and I’m excited that we were able to make this happen,” Bliss said. “This mural is proof that every dollar matters and even small investments in our parks can make a big difference in the experience our residents have when they visit. I’m proud of the board, thankful for the time and talents of the artist Eve Sandoval, and I’m optimistic that this model of turning budget savings into quality-of-life investments is something that we can continue to build on as a council.”  

Amber Platzke, the chair of the Arts Board, said that fellow Arts Board member Laurie Geralds originally proposed the concept of ground-based murals and submitted the grant application.

“We were very excited for Eve (Sandoval) to join the Arts Board and take on the completion of the project,” Platzke said. “The mural at Civic Center Park is set up similar to hopscotch, with rules spelled out for each section. Future murals will have interactive engagement elements but will not all be the exact same style.”

Madison Heights Mayor Roslyn Grafstein said she hopes the project will become a trend in the city.

“I would like to see an initiative to commission similar projects at the entrances to the city and at various spots in the (Downtown Development Authority),” Grafstein said.

Vita Palazzolo, an Arts Board member, echoed this sentiment.

“We haven’t discussed this as a board yet, but I know we would love to branch out into the downtown district,” Palazzolo said. “It was such a joy to watch the kids jump, spin and squeal with delight as they interacted with the sidewalk mural. I believe bringing the gift of art into the city, especially right now, is extremely healing.”

Advertisement