By Sue Moore
Several locations in downtown Vicksburg and the Mill have been decorated with artwork to congratulate the class of 2020. The effort has been spearheaded by The Mill and Frederick Construction to celebrate graduates of all ages who have seen their year-end ceremonies turned upside down.
Each graduate, be it high school, tech school, college, or kindergarten, has been invited to participate in a digital time capsule by recording a short video of themselves in front of one of the various pieces of art, or banner. The video can then be uploaded to the Mill’s website via a QR code located adjacent to the piece.
As a reward for their effort, participants can receive a $5 gift certificate to Apple Knockers. They’ll also receive an invitation to come back to the Mill five years from now to view the collective work and to honor their successful years in area schools at an unveiling party.
The goal is to do something fun for this year’s grads who haven’t had many opportunities to celebrate, said John Kern, spokesperson for The Mill.
Mindy Reno staged the white gown and hat that can be seen in the Prairie Ronde Art Gallery at 101 E. Prairie Street. She also painted the “Be Strong” window on The Mill annex building at 106 S. Main Street. Another window that Mindy created features the back end of a Jeep and balloons that says, “Out of Here”. Each scene is designed to be interactive so that grads can pose themselves in ways that let them appear to be lifting the barbells or holding the balloon strings, as they wave goodbye to their former school life.
Mindy’s daughter, Ady Reno, painted a Bulldog logo at 120 E. Prairie Street at the Frederick Construction offices.
Tom Hardy created an interactive rock and-roll themed window on the north window of the Mill Music Residency venue, located at 107 S. Main Street. Lori Barnes staged the “Dream Big” window at 101 E. Prairie.
There is also a congratulatory banner installed on the security fence that surrounds the Mill. Graduates who are interested in using the banner as a background can find it on the Mill’s south lawn, located at 300 W. Highway Street.
To top off the theme, Anna Lee Roeder and Eric Vasilauskas painted a mural on the back wall of the Mill Music Residency venue. Theirs is a permanent mural to celebrate the graduates. Anna and Erik came to Vicksburg as Prairie Ronde Artists in 2019. They live in Kalamazoo and have started a business, DreamScene Placemaking, specializing in public art projects and happenings. “It’s all about being passionate about creating shared community experiences in a public place, thus the congratulations sign for the graduates,” they said.
The pieces are expected to stay up until Friday, June 12 when the window closes for submissions to the digital time capsule and Apple Knockers gift cards.
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By Sue Moore