New FPD Mural Depicts Community Life in Fishers
A new mural graces the Fishers Police Department (FPD) building. The 1,000-square-foot piece of artwork depicts students from Fishers High School and Hamilton Southeastern High School, the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater, the Bell Ford Bridge, and Harlej, the K-9 officer killed in 2019.
Professional artist Becky Hochhalter of Terre Haute designed and painted the mural, titled “Blazing the Trail.” Hochhalter is a self-taught artist who has been creating different types of art since childhood.
“The mural itself is about the current and future use of the area around the Nickel Plate Trail,” Hochhalter says. “I also wanted to show a night-and-day representation of the use of the area. There is an evening concert at the amphitheater, a couple enjoying a beer at an outdoor table, the two high school logos, the covered bridge, and a young girl interacting with Harlej.”
The design process took several months.
“We started the design phase in January,” Hochhalter says. “I went through a few revisions, adding in different elements in a flowing design and a pleasing way. The Fishers Arts and Culture Commission and I went back and forth a few times, and we had input from the police department.”
Hochhalter was thrilled to be chosen as the artist to represent the City of Fishers.
“I know there was some stiff competition,” Hochhalter says. “It was thrilling to represent the interaction between the police department and the community.”
Fishers Police Chief Ed Gebhart is happy to be a part of the new artwork.
“Our community is reflected in the ‘Blazing the Trail’ mural,” Gebhart says. “From our schools to community members, iconic landmarks and public safety, this mural captures the essence of our city and what the future holds for our community. The Fishers Police Department is excited to be a part of the new developments along the Nickel Plate Trail. We are proud of the ‘Blazing the Trail’ mural, and all that it represents for our agency and our community.”
The mural was completed in five weeks.
“I live in Terre Haute, but I have a daughter who lives in Brownsburg,” Hochhalter says. “I stayed with her and drove from Brownsburg each day. Unfortunately, the weather delayed painting a little bit.”
Hochhalter had special assistance painting the mural, from someone very close to Harlej.
“I invited Officer [Jarred] Koopman, Harlej’s handler, to come paint Harlej’s portrait with me,” Hochhalter says. “One day he came out with his wife and children, and they painted for about two hours. It was really sweet.”
Hochhalter feels grateful to work closely with the FPD, the Fishers Arts and Culture Commission, and Ross Hilleary, assistant director of planning and zoning.
“It was such a smooth process,” Hochhalter says. “I’m especially grateful to Ross because he was there to help me work out any kinks in the beginning. He also helped me get access to the FPD building where I was storing my supplies. Everyone throughout the whole process was great.”
For more information about Hochhalter and her work, visit beckyhochhalter.com.