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Neighborhood Uses Art to Promote Diversity

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--A neighborhood public art project designed by some high school students is bringing color, light and something more into one Iowa City trail.

It's really two mosaic pillars, and while that may sound mundane, the designs are meant to reflect the true identity of a neighborhood.

"I think it's pretty, I think its cool; I think it's beautiful, I think it's nice, said kids from the Grant Wood neighborhood.

"Oh they are really pretty. They look cool. Driving down the street, said Lin Swanson.

Words of approval from neighbors, of all ages.

"It reminds me of my baby brother, another said.

They are all talking about two pillars encased in mosaic.

"Numerous students worked on them. Probably between 50 and 75 kids altogether from city high school worked on them and some kids worked extensively on them, said Jill Barnes Harper, art teacher at City High.

The art project is called Grant Wood, A Neighborhood of Seasons.

It's meant to serve as a gateway to the south sycamore greenway trail, but it's also more than that.

"This is a very diverse neighborhood, and so the scenes reflect that, said Barnes Harper.

City high art teacher Jill Barnes Harper says students from the school who live in the area wanted to support the diversity in their neighborhood, to show that the color in everyone is beautiful.

That's reflected in each image, each glass.

"Jill and the students kind of went with the direction of the different seasons and through those different seasons you also have different populations that are participating in those seasons, said Marcia Bollinger, from the Iowa City Public Art Program.

Something that not only brings light into the Grant Wood area, this neighborhood gets a bad rep sometimes so it's good to capture the good side of that coin, said Lin Swanson who lives in the neighborhood, but also stands as a legacy for those behind its creation

"Years to come, kids are going to come back, when they are grandmothers, grandfathers, they are going to come back and show future generations, I made this when I was in high school and that's the beauty of it, said Barnes Harper.

The City of Iowa City Public Art Program helped fund the project.

They are looking to bring the beauty of art into other neighborhoods as well.
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