When Brett and Lindsay Street bought the building at 205 S. Elm St. for their power washing business last fall, they immediately knew they wanted to do something with the brick wall that faces uptown.
Lindsay had also been looking for a way to remember Dan Richards, a Creston Community High School student who took his own life last year. With two boys in high school and two toddlers who will soon enter the school system, Lindsay said the reality of how cold and cruel the world can be is heartbreaking and terrifying.
“After the loss of Dan Richards and his family’s request for everyone to treat each other with kindness, I knew that I wanted to do a mural to be sort of a reminder of that — to just be kind,” Lindsay said.
Richards’ mother, Laura Dowda, said the months since his death have been hard, but she has been encouraged by the signs of kindness she has been seeing around the community.
“I’ve seen so many ‘be kind’ signs and stuff since this has happened,” she said. “It’s unbelievable. It touches the heart.”
Having seen the results of their work on several murals around town, Lindsay turned to Bailey and Blake Fry-Schnormeier and CCHS art students to design and create the mural.
Lindsay met with Bailey over the summer to discuss the project. The two of them had the same idea to dedicate the wall to the idea of kindness.
“Amazingly she had the same idea that I did, to make the mural a reminder to just be nice to people,” Lindsay said. “It just gave me goosebumps. I knew that I had to do it.”
Lindsay said that Bailey had some paint remaining from other projects and some donated paint. The rest of the cost is being funded by the Streets.
The drawing and printmaking and graphics students at CCHS created sketches with ideas for the mural. Lindsay and Brett then chose several of the drawings and gave them back to the Fry-Schnormeiers who compiled them into the completed design.
Students will be able to work on the mural during their art classes in the next few weeks.
“The multicultural class is studying street art culture and they will be helping to create the mural as well,” said Bailey.
Wednesday, the wall was primed and the outline was painted in white. The stenciling should begin next week, weather permitting. Lindsay said it will take a couple of weeks to finish the project since it will mainly be painted during class time.
The mural will be feature brightly colored geometric patterns and will contain the words “Be kind” in bold white to remind those who see it to practice a little kindness in their lives.
“I really am hoping that this mural catches someone’s eye every day and just makes them think about it for a bit,” Lindsay said.