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Jackson, MI –  The City of Jackson Public Arts Commission today announced the launch of a new website in support of the Glidden Parker Mural Project, an effort that has already received a $50,000 National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” grant, and has applied for a $100,000 Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs “Capital Improvements” grant. The website showcases the intent of the project, funding sources, and a new building concept for the mural:

www.GliddenParker.org

“This project has continued to evolve as it has gained more and more community support,” said Janet Meyer, Chair of the newly formed City of Jackson Public Arts Commission. “There is a lot of energy behind the project, and we are excited to work with community partners to make this a reality for downtown Jackson.”

The grant proposal involves the City of Jackson Public Arts Commission restoring the historic lighted glass mural, relocating it to Horace Blackman Park, and housing it within a new multi-purpose structure. The intent is for the structure to serve as the focal point of the current downtown placemaking effort in Jackson’s newly completed urban core park as part of the Governor’s Anchor Initiative

“The project will further help downtown develop a sense of place, and compliment programs like the Anchor Initiative,” said Derek Dobies, Vice Mayor of the City of Jackson. “We’ve received competitive grants, and dedicated some city funds to the effort. I’m confident a community partner can step in and help bridge the funding gap to make this project a reality – that’s the third leg of our funding effort.”

The proposed design of the structure will not only protect and preserve the 9 foot tall by 28 foot long mural in a climate controlled structure, but will include an art exhibit viewing area. The angled roofing design will help protect and define the viewing area for the mural and will also function as a performance area for various organizations and events. The backside of the structure will feature eight viewing windows to be filled with artwork and history showcased through local artists and history collections in partnership with the Ella Sharp Museum of Art & History.

The mural, designed and fabricated by Glassart Studio under the direction of artist Glidden Parker, was commissioned for $35,000 in 1969 by Consumers Power Company – now Consumers Energy (CE) – for displayed in the lobby of its headquarters. The mural consists of thick slabs of colored, faceted glass assembled onto panels and bolted onto a steel frame, depicting the history of power generation and distribution. The CE headquarters was demolished in 2013, the mural was saved, and the site (nearly an acre) developed into an urban core park. Once restored in the urban core park near its original location, the glass mural will regain its original functionality: eight hundred lights behind the mural flash in sequence, giving the appearance of power from a central reactor moving through a heat exchanger and turbine.  

“The goal of this project is to preserve a piece of art that has great cultural, and historic significance in Jackson and, in doing so, create a space for the appreciation and performance of art,” said Amy Reimann, Executive Director of the Ella Sharp Museum of Art and History and member of the Jackson Public Arts Commission. “We are excited to be a part of this project, and see it as a great way to bring the museum to the downtown community.”

The DDA’s Jammin’ in Jackson, Jackson School of the Arts, Jackson Symphony Orchestra, Jackson Civic Arts Association, as well as numerous organizations have already expressed interest in planning future performance/exhibits at the facility. The grant proposal and website lists the following supporters of the effort:

Senator Debbie Stabenow

State Representative Earl Poleski

Jackson Mayor and City Council

City of Jackson Parks Commission

Ella Sharp Museum

Arts & Cultural Alliance of Jackson County

Jackson Co. Chamber of Commerce

Consumers Energy

Experience Jackson

Jackson DDA Board of Trustees

Jackson District Library

Spring Arbor University

Jackson Symphony Orchestra

Jackson School of the Arts

The Jackson Public Arts Commission is currently pursuing corporate, community supporters to help complete funding for the project. Those interested in assisting can contact Janet Meyer, Chair of the Jackson Public Arts Commission. 

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