Mural Fest Article 4
North Manchester’s new mural on Main Street
Photo by Mitchell Marks

North Manchester Unveils New Mural on Main Street 

Mitchell Marks

The eagle has landed in downtown North Manchester. International artist Remix Uno has completed a mural featuring America’s national bird on the side of Selleck Shoe Repair & Western Wear at 214 E. Main St.

Remix’s mural is one of 11 such paintings created in northeast Indiana over the past two weeks as part of the Make It Your Own Mural Fest, a collaborative regional street art project that organized the creation of 11 murals across 11 Indiana counties over the span of 11 days (Sept. 8-18). North Manchester was chosen as the mural site for Wabash County by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership that coordinated the Mural Fest, according to Manchester Alive: Main Street Chamber Alliance CEO Brooke Vanderpool.

Vanderpool explained that the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership initiated the Mural Fest in December 2019 by asking participating counties to submit three to four potential mural locations. After each county’s mural site was announced in January, Vanderpool and Manchester Alive—an organization that promotes the growth and community involvement of North Manchester—took the lead in organizing Wabash County’s mural.

The artist selection process began by inviting interested muralists to apply for the position on the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership website by June 14, according to the Manchester Alive Facebook page. Applicants were asked to submit a sketch of their mural proposal to be anonymously judged by a jury comprised of Wabash County residents. The four-person jury, which included a Manchester University professor, met with the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne to review mural proposals in late June, Vanderpool explained.

Local artist Heidi Lovett, a former Manchester University student and current programming coordinator for the North Manchester Public Library, was one of the community members who served on the Wabash County artist selection jury. She explained each juror was given a rubric and asked to rate each potential artist’s mural proposal without knowing any other information about the applicant.

According to Vanderpool, eight artists applied for the Wabash County mural position. Out of those options, Lovett was drawn to Remix’s mural proposal of a large bald eagle overlain by the word INSPIRE because of its powerful imagery, she explained. “The bald eagle is an iconic symbol of our country and patriotism,” Lovett said. Additionally, Lovett felt the mural featured what she called “a mix between old and new” that would appeal to community members of all ages.

Remix submitted his application after hearing about the opportunity from friends he was staying with in Kansas and subsequently researching the Wabash County area, he explained. “When I was reading about this place, I knew that there was a big eagle population,” he said. According to WPTA reporter Krista Miller, Wabash County is home to 90 bald eagles. Appropriately, Remix believed painting a “really huge” eagle would be an effective way to showcase a large part of the county’s identity in a piece of art North Manchester could be proud of.

Even though the art project advertised the creation of 11 murals over 11 days, Remix felt no need to waste time painting his eagle. After arriving in North Manchester Monday, Sept. 7, Remix began painting the next day and finished his mural Sunday, Sept. 13. In just six days, the artist transformed the 2,000 square feet of brick on the side of Selleck Shoe Repair & Western Wear into his own colorful canvas. “I like to work really fast,” Remix said. “I’ve never had any problems working 14 hours in a row. If that’s what is going to help me finish a mural, that’s what I’ll do.”

The Mural Fest pulled talent from across the globe to bring art to northeast Indiana, with the 11 selected muralists ranging from instate artists to international painters from countries like Belarus, according to the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership website. Remix was born in Mexico City and now travels the world creating street art, he said.

As a native of one of the largest cities in the world, Remix utilized his visit to North Manchester as an opportunity to experience what it feels like to live in a small town. “It wasn’t until I drove through town that I realized how small it was,” he said, explaining that he enjoyed the contrast between Mexico City and North Manchester.

One aspect he appreciated about Manchester was the hospitality he encountered that allowed him to feel welcome in the community. “You feel a sense of security here you don’t feel in some bigger cities,” Remix said. “It’s different. I like it. Hanging around a place like this is something I enjoyed a lot.”

While staying in North Manchester, Remix was able to accomplish a lifelong dream: visiting a farm. “Something I was really looking forward to was visiting a farm to milk cows,” he explained. Penrod Farms hosted the artist Sept. 12 and allowed him to milk a cow, feed a calf and drink fresh milk, according to Manchester Alive on Facebook. Remix was extremely grateful for the experience. “That was amazing,” he said.

Although some of Remix’s friends questioned why he was willing to create a mural in a town as small as North Manchester, he felt a sense of pride in bringing his nearly two decades’ worth of artistic experience to a place that may otherwise be unaccustomed to street art of this scale. “Painting here is cool, I think,” Remix said. “People think that stuff like this will only happen in the big cities, so creating contemporary, modern art like this in a town as small as this is awesome.”

Delivering the type of culture and art Remix described to towns like North Manchester was the main objective of the Mural Fest, according to Vanderpool. “The idea behind the project was to bring people to rural, northeast Indiana to see the quality of the place and explore,” Vanderpool said. She explained North Manchester had never been featured in a state-wide event of this magnitude and believes the mural was a positive addition to the town that “brings together both arts and community.”

The mural was officially unveiled with a community celebration and meet the artist event Thursday, Sept. 17, but many North Manchester residents had already approached Remix to voice their approval and appreciation, he explained. The positive response he received from the community caught Remix by surprise. “People started to treat me like I was some type of celebrity,” he said. Along those same lines, Remix explained he feels much more of a personal connection with this mural and the community he created it in than some of his previous paintings.

While he does not expect this mural to gain as much exposure as others he has created, Remix appreciates how receptive the community has been to his art and believes this mural will mean more to North Manchester residents than it would to a larger city. He expects his work to bring pride to the town and was glad to create something positive for the Manchester community.

Lovett shared that enthusiasm about Remix’s visit, stating that she expects his mural to serve as an eye-catching location for taking pictures that will attract guests to North Manchester. Vanderpool agreed, explaining that the mural “will help our community to be a place to visit in Wabash County.” Her vision aligns with the goals of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, which is promoting a social media photo contest at the mural sites now that the paintings have been completed, according to the organization’s website.

Lovett also believes the mural signifies North Manchester’s dedication toward expanding its community outreach and providing for its residents and businesses. “This mural shows our community and surrounding communities that North Manchester is invested in beautifying our downtown and keeping it current,” she said. “We value local businesses and want to support them in every way possible.”

While Remix was unable to visit Manchester University during his stay, he was unsurprised to learn the campus shared the same small, community-oriented atmosphere as North Manchester. “This place is great,” he said. “I really enjoyed coming to visit.” He hopes to return to Wabash County in December, when he might have a better chance to see some of the eagles that inspired his mural.

Remix left town Sept. 18 for New York City, where he will create another mural in a location drastically different than North Manchester. For more information about our artist, Remix invites everyone to follow him on Instagram at RemixUno and visit his website, www.RemixUno. com.