The Town of Zionsville has been proud to partner with the Zionsville Cultural District (ZCD) in adding public art. The ZCD is both the heart of the village district and the name of the organization that coordinates marketing initiatives for the community as a whole. The purpose of identifying a cultural district is to:
Promote Zionsville’s diverse art, culture, history, and community assets to residents, visitors and potential employers in order to enhance interest in Zionsville, increase tourism and stimulate economic development.
The ZCD works to coordinate artistic, history-based and cultural experiences within the community in order to improve the quality of life for its residents, strengthen local businesses and enrich experiences for visitors. ZCD has an active, working board of directors whose mission is to "To make art, culture and history accessible and obvious through support, promotion and coordination.
“All in This Together for Social Justice”
A message of social justice, unity, diversity and inclusion for all people told through the viewpoints of four Zionsville students – that is what is at the heart of the traffic control box at the northwest corner of Main and Sycamore Streets.
The project, “All in This Together for Social Justice,” is the brainchild of an 8th grade Zionsville Middle School student Phoebe. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter murals, Phoebe organized an art contest as part of a Girl Scout silver award. Phoebe raised all the funds to accomplish this project.
Phoebe worked in collaboration with the Zionsville Cultural District, the Mayor’s office, Palette Art Studio and Robert Goodman Jewelers. Art entries were submitted and a panel of judges selected the winners. Judges included Phoebe, Senator J.D. Ford, Zionsville artist Cynthia Young, Zionsville business owner Lolly Mahaney, Zionsville photographer Tom Casalini and Zionsville Diversity Coalition member Monisha Mitchell. A winner was selected from each Zionsville school: elementary, middle and high school.
The traffic control box features the words “All in This Together,” transgender symbols, a raised fist symbolizing unity and solidarity with our community figuratively standing up for social justice and lifting up those who are made to feel unequal and other imagery that brings awareness to social justice and unity. As the Town of Zionsville continues to be engaged in honest community dialogue around social justice, diversity and inclusion, this art project is indicative of the students’ perseverance and their generation’s willingness to become engaged in supporting human rights at a young age.
Making art is often a form of self-expression, a way for the artist to paint, draw, sing or form what they or others feel strongly about. Artwork can move people to look closer at their own emotions, at social issues and at the environment that surrounds them. Thanks to these young students, the topic of social justice is being discussed, opposed, considered, supported and impacted here in Zionsville.
"I think there are a lot of really strong, young leaders in this community, and it’s exciting the way that they want to make a difference,” said Mayor Emily Styron. “This is our message that social justice matters and that these are part of our values as a town. We’re committed to the meaning of the message.”
“Zionsville enjoys a rich history of supporting the arts, which continues to underscore our uniqueness as a community,” said Zionsville Town Councilor Brad Burk. “Public art is especially important because it helps illuminate our past - and all we hope to be. Art can also encourage us to think, discuss and learn. Believing in dynamic and strong community values and encouraging diversity, our future is in good hands. We should be proud of our young artists and their timely message of togetherness.”
The art on this traffic control box created a safe space for our town’s youth to share messages of social justice and unity and for self-expression. As a community, we are opening our eyes to the topics of diversity and inclusion and letting our students’ voices for positive change to be heard. In doing so, we will become a destination for people of all walks of life.
“This artwork serves as a beautiful and resilient representation of social justice in our community. Let the voice of these young change-makers ring positively in our Zionsville community,” said Mayor Emily Styron.
If the artwork has moved you, the Town of Zionsville encourages you to keep the momentum going and ask for ways to continue to have a dialogue around social justice. Projects like this help define and shape the quality of life in Zionsville. They speak to the important, although sometimes difficult, conversations our town is engaged in.
Ribbon cutting ceremony held on October 25, 2020.
Artist Statement: Grace, Zionsville Community High School
“Unity Over Division”
My artwork reveals that despite our many differences, at the end of the day we are all human and have loving hearts within us to spread love and lift one another up. We should come together and take a stance and promote the diverse nature of our world. My intention was that the fist be transparent because I didn’t want it to be labeled by a color but instead a raised fist that symbolizes unity and solidarity. My hope is that my artwork will inspire others in Zionsville to lift those that are different than us up high so that they can feel the strong support and know that WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.
Artist Statement: Phoebe, Zionsville Middle School
“All in This Together”
The “All in this Together” themed social justice box was inspired by other street art around Indianapolis and around the country. I feel that art is a beautiful way for students to express their vision of social justice for all. My panel reflects the theme through representing everyone. I included symbols of physical disabilities, LGBTQ+ and Black Lives Matter, alongside images of peace and love in the world. I believe that only if we are all in this together, we will make it through.
Artist Statement: Audrey, Zionsville West Middle School
My art is supposed to represent unity and equality among everyone, no matter race, religion, sex or body type. I tried to represent many different groups of people because I wanted the minorities of Zionsville to have a piece of art they could look at and know they are beautiful and loved. The woman in the middle is supposed to represent all of Earth.
Artist Statement: Nina, Eagle Elementary
My artwork shows all kinds of people protesting together for peace and justice. Social justice means to me that things are fair for everyone no matter who you are, where you live or come from, how much money you have, or what you look like.
Other Zionsville Cultural District Public Art Projects
In 2017, the Zionsville Cultural District announced the first Sidewalk Poetry Contest to promote the arts in Zionsville. Every year since then, adults and children have been invited to submit poems and a panel of judges decides on the winning entries. The winning poems are stamped onto sidewalks throughout Zionsville.
Located at the Zionsville Town Hall Outdoor Plaza, 1100 West Oak Street
The 10-foot tall Walking Man steel sculpture was gifted to the Town in 2016 by the Community Foundation of Boone County. Local artist Cynthia Young created a design that ties into the sculpture’s proximity to the Big-4 Rail Trail. On the sculpture’s torso, an illustrated map directs trail users and Town Hall visitors to Zionsville’s 500+ acres of parks and trails. On the arms and legs, painted colorful wildflowers native to Indiana highlight the importance of landscaping with native plants. On the shoulder, Young added a life-size 3-dimensional Cardinal, the Indiana state bird.
"Dahlia City" Traffic Control Box
Located at 106th Street and Zionsville Road
Local artist Cynthia Young painted the Dahlia-themed traffic control box. Young chose a dahlia theme to tie into the town’s historic connection to the flower and the box’s close proximity to Dahlia Drive. In the 1920s, Zionsville was known as The Dahlia City due to two Zionsville nurseries that had dahlia gardens: the Tudor Gardens, located at what is now Fifth and Ash Streets and the Parkway Gardens, located where Eagle Elementary currently stands.