Art Appreciation While Getting an Oil Change
Writer / Stephanie Duncan
Public art and oil changes are two things that don’t normally go together, but that’s exactly what Jiffy Lube of Indianapolis and Department of Public Words are planning – community involvement through art.
It’s hard to drive through Indianapolis without seeing the positive messages from Department of Public Words. The big, positive “You are beautiful” phrase adorns many buildings around Indianapolis, including the Murphy Building in Fountain Square.
Jiffy Lube of Indiana and Department of Public Words might seem like an unlikely pairing, but owner Steve Sanner is passionate about the communities that his business are in, and when he noticed a rise in vandalism and graffiti of his properties, he had a creative solution – art.
Public art and murals dissuade people from vandalizing public property, so murals designed by local Indiana artists are planned for installation on the sides of Jiffy Lubes all over Indiana, starting with Indianapolis. Jiffy Lube and Department of Public Words want to give exposure to local artists that people may have not heard of before.
So far, six murals have been confirmed. The first mural is going on the Carmel location at 116th and Keystone and was designed by local Indiana artist Justin Cooper. This big mural showcases a beautiful large blue heron with the word “Breathe.” This design is inspired by Carmel artist Franklin Booth (1874-1948).
The mural that will go on the Broad Ripple Jiffy Lube location was started at the end of August and was painted by people in the Broad Ripple community. Each mural will encourage community involvement and get people to help. “People are delighted by the opportunity to paint,” Holly Combs said. Combs, the executive director of Department of Public Words, helps find artists for the project along with her husband, Dave Combs, program director and co-founder of Department of Public Words. “There is no pressure to do right or wrong,” Dave added when talking about getting volunteers to help paint these murals.
Holly and Dave hope that these murals will help the local communities take ownership of their neighborhood. “It humanizes a place that changes your oil,” Holly said. “It’s important to us that people know that Jiffy Lube is not just a place to get an oil change. Steve cares about people and the community,” she added.
Each of the murals will have a word that will accompany the image. They will all have something encouraging as part of the artwork to give it that Department of Public Words style. “We here at Department of Public Words want to encourage people,” added Megan Jefferson who helps coordinate the mural projects for Department of Public Words. This is a big project to tackle, and Jiffy Lube and the team at Department of Public Words has willing help. Pennzoil recognized the benefits of taking pride in local communities and is donating money as well as Torchlight, the marketing firm for Jiffy Lube and the Broad Ripple Village Association.
“Jiffy Lube is using funding normally used for radio ads, and Steve is hoping to inspire other businesses to put ad revenue back into their local communities,” said Melanie Allen, a Torchlight representative.
This project is just beginning, and there will be more murals to come. Department of Public Words and Jiffy Lube are still accepting artist submissions for the third mural, which will be at 82nd and Allisonville. There are six murals planned, but with 27 Indianapolis locations, there’s definitely potential for this project to grow.