A Community Mural in Indianola
When Anna Oswalt passes by the city swimming pool and sees the words “Greeting. Indianola, Mississippi” painted large on one wall of the pool house, she smiles.
“It tells me that this is my community,” said the 17-year-old high school senior. “It reminds me of who we are; our identity and our history.”
Anna, who serves as secretary of the Indianola Youth Council, was one of a group of kids and adults who gathered at the pool house at B.B. King Park on Roosevelt Street in early December to paint the new mural that was designed by Louisiana artist Vitus Shell. Covering both sides of the structure, the mural depicts Indianola’s place in the world; its music and agriculture; and its people such as the legendary B.B. King.
The mural incorporates several designs chosen in an art contest held for kids this year. Participating in the project were the Delta Health Alliance and Indianola Promise Community, the city of Indianola, NV’s Dancing Dolls, the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association, Indianola Boy Scouts, the Venture Club, Indianola Youth Council and the entire Indianola community.
“It captures the essence of Indianola,” said Anthony Powell, a project manager for the Indianola Promise Community, which spearheaded the event. “This was a project to bring the community together to show partnership and participation and that we are moving forward.”
The mural also helped mark the completion of swimming pool renovations made possible, in part, by an $80,000 grant from IPC. After being closed for two summers, the pool re-opened in mid-July to the great joy of Indianola’s children.
The pool received new filters, edging, tiles, pumps, motors and a chlorinator. The pool house reconstruction, which still requires completion of some minor components, has been more extensive and lagged behind the pool repairs. It includes a new roof, locker rooms and showers. The entire structure received a fresh paint job – and now, a new mural that is source of pride for the community.
“It gave the opportunity for the children and the community to come together,” said Anna. “But it was more than that. It was about making our community better and doing the work to help make things happen. It sends the message that you have to help yourself.”
The final part of the swimming pool project will be a beautification phase to make the entrance to the pool house more attractive with ornamental plants and shrubbery.
Indianola Mayor Steve Rosenthal said the project wouldn’t have been possible without IPC. The grant served as a catalyst for the city to contribute to the work and complete the project. In turn, Indianola’s young people are again learning the swimming and lifesaving skills they should know.
“When you think about it, a community swimming is the epicenter of a neighborhood and a city,” said Powell. “It’s the place where kids and grown-ups gather in the summer to have fun, share stories and pass the time. The pool repairs, the mural, the beautification efforts all contribute to the well-being and quality of life in Indianola.”