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Danville’s latest mural dedicated to Lucia Granath O’Brien

By Peg McRoy

A newly painted mural titled, “Downtown Danville,” that graces the side of the alley on the northside of the square, not only enhances the alley walkway and adds warmth to a fresh town gathering space, it also honors Lucia Granath O’Brien.

O’Brien, who passed away in 2009, was a teacher for the Danville Community School Corporation, a longtime Danville resident, a lover of all things community, and a firm believer in doing everything possible to save God’s green Earth.

The mural, based on the themes of protecting the environment, clean water, and world peace, completely fits into the themes of O’Brien’s life.

These themes, however, were pulled from the goals of the Danville Rotary Club and established before O’Brien’s name became connected to the project.

The Downtown Danville Partnership (DDP) partnered with the Rotary and Hendricks County Arts Council (HCAC) to bring the mural and the redesigning of the alley walkway to fruition. It was Rotary’s themes that drove the content of the mural design.

Lucia Granath O’Brien’s family stand in front Danville’s latest mural that is dedicated in her honor. (Photo by Peg McRoy)

Nationally known muralists Jon Stommel and Travis Czekalski, together known as “Rather Severe,” were awarded the project through an open mural call process managed by the HCAC.

The mural is a graphic landscape with a yellow peace sign representing the sun in the upper right corner. Through the center is a flow of blue symbolizing a river. Surrounding the river are shapes of leaves, grass, vines, bushes, trees, and clouds depicting the various forms found in nature.

The funding for revitalization of this alley walkway came through a matching grant from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. When the town’s residents were tapped to donate the matching funds, the O’Brien’s family stepped forward with a generous gift and the request that the mural be dedicated to Lucia.

“My mom was a lovely woman who loved Danville,” said Mollie O’Brien Siebert, her daughter. “My husband, Charlie, and I really want to support the town and the arts. Helping fund this mural was a perfect way for us to do that and honor my mom at the same time.”

Lucia Granath O’Brien, who passed in 2009, loved everything outside as is depicted in the mural that is dedicated to her on the southside of Danville’s square. (Photo provided by the O’Brien family.)

Lucia’s other daughter, Corie, sees the mural as a beautiful retreat to remember her mom.

“My mom was cremated, and we don’t have a headstone,” said Corie. “She spent more time outside than she did inside, so it is very appropriate that the mural is themed with nature and saving the environment. She was quiet on the outside but inside she was vibrant just like the colors in the mural. I just love it. In a way it helps her live on.”

“This mural epitomizes my mom and her life,” said Andy O’Brien, her son. “It is very much about nature, and I love the peace sign in it. She was a beautiful soul who would have been overwhelmed and honored that her name is on it.”

The south alley activation is just the start of what the DDP hopes to achieve in the coming years.

“We want to see all of our alleys (around the square) activated with lighting and art,” said Beth Ann Holmes, executive director of the DDP. “We encourage everyone in the community to be a part of this and hopefully we will get to see more tributes to loved ones.”

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