Osceola Chamber Main Street (OCMS) recently acquired an Iowa Arts Council matching grant for $5,000 to fund the design, creation, and installation of a new mural on Osceola’s Historic Town Square. The ever-evolving business district has seen a number of updates over the past few years, primarily due to the commitment of the Chamber – Main Street board and the passion they have for the community. The latest artistic update will be in a partnership with the National Art Honor Society students at Clarke Community Schools.

Initial mural designs by Clarke students will be sent to be finished out by Bobby Hart Designs of Waverly, IA.

“Clarke National Art Honor Society is thrilled to be working on the Osceola mural as a team,” said Clarke National Art Honor Society President, Rachel Jaurigue. “We all have great ideas and plan to combine them to represent important parts of our town and who we are.”

The mural collaboration kicked off early in November with the students at Clarke being given design themes by the OCMS Design Team and Clarke Area Arts Council. The mural will be designed in a “Postcard-Style” illustration with each letter assigned a unique theme, specific to Osceola and the historic business district. The 12’ x 7’ mural will then be produced and installed on the south side of 100 S. Fillmore on the corner of the square next to the Post Office.

Around Thanksgiving, the final “OSCEOLA” letter designs will be sent to Bobby Hart Designs out of Waverly, Iowa to be fine-tuned and scaled up for the mural panels that will then be mounted on the building. Much of the production after the initial design will take place in Hart’s studio over the winter months. The completed mural is expected to be hung before the end of the 2023-24 school year with a celebration and ribbon-cutting event.

“One of the unique aspects of this mural will be its installation and the ability to move it, if necessary,” said Ashleigh Eckels, OCMS Executive Director.

Because of the historic significance of the building at 100 S. Fillmore, the mounted panel solution complied with historic preservation guidelines and offered a versatility to the mural most don’t have.

The OCMS Mural Grant Program – started in 2022 with the initial mural of the Angel Wing on the corner of the Ivy Rose building at 124 W. Jefferson – offers up to $5,000 for art project and murals to those interested in enhancing and adding a little beauty the square. With the Iowa Arts Council matching grant, OCMS was able to think outside the box on design and execution as well as offer the opportunity for the Clarke National Art Honor students to participate.

“This is the first time working with students on a beautification project of this scale,” said Eckels. “Their passion and excitement for the mission has been an inspiration.”

Eckels also discussed future projects possibly being opened to the public, allowing local artists and creatives to contribute mural designs or ideas throughout the city. Some other locations the Design Committee have discussed adding murals to include the underpass by City Hall and various buildings around the square.

If you have questions or would like additional information about the OCMS Mural Grant program or other programs available to the public through OCMS, please feel free to reach out to Ashleigh Eckels, Osceola Chamber Mains Street Executive Director at 115 E Washington Street, Osceola, IA 50213 or by calling 641-342-4200 or emailing [email protected].

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  1. Bobby Hart Designs were also the artist that did the large mural on the Ivy Rose building in the alley. The angel wings on the corner of the building were a contribute to the owner’s late mother Shirley. If you check out the mural on the building you will also find a special connection to the bike in the mural is now on display in the store, as that was Shirley’s bike. She was always looking out for everyone and could be found wherever her bike was. Bobby and Meghan from Hart Designs always know how to capture every emotion with their artwork.