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Carmel High School Students Collaborating with International Artist on Public Art Project

CARMEL, IN – In a first-of-its-kind collaboration, Carmel High School (CHS) students are playing key roles in the design of the Carmel Redevelopment Commission’s (CRC) latest art acquisition, which will be on bold display within steps of the school.

Announced in December, Channels of Connection in Carmel, an illuminated sculpture, will be positioned at the roundabout at Main Street and Lexington Boulevard. The dynamic piece features steel wires shaped into the head and neck of a student looking to the sky, hair blowing in the breeze. Designed by artist Casto Solano, who has work displayed in multiple U.S. and European cities, the artistic structure is slated for installation in the summer of 2025.

In the meantime, CHS students are actively taking part in the look of the final piece, submitting concepts that will inspire the tips of the sculpture’s hair – various items or representations.

Jennifer Bubp, CHS art department chair, said students are brainstorming ideas through collaborative mural drawings and individual drawing activities, as well as through a recent video meeting with Solano. Their sketches, poetry and short stories include sentiments about what they love about Carmel and Carmel High School.

“What an incredible privilege this is for our students to collaborate with an internationally recognized artist,” Bubp said. “My students and I were awe-struck in our initial conversation with the artist’s team.”

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With the ideas from students being sent to Solano in the coming weeks, the CRC and CHS are planning virtual meetings with students and the artist to discuss the creative process, as well as key steps for the ultimate installation. Beyond the art students already taking part in the project, students studying engineering and technology will be engaged, as well.

Mayor Sue Finkam, who last month announced the formation of the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Arts, is staying closely engaged in the partnership and is pleased with the early progress.

“Student involvement makes it more than a sculpture; it makes it a Carmel story about the power of art and its ability to inspire our community,” Finkam said.

Henry Mestetsky, executive director of the CRC, additionally touted the enduring impact of the project and others like it.

“We know public art empowers economic development and public involvement builds our community. The sculpture does both, as it welcomes visitors to our education campus and our Arts & Design District,” he said.

Significantly, Bubp has seen her students’ appreciation for public art expand and is confident the initiative will have an impact beyond the dozens of students already involved.

“Ultimately, we hope that all our students will be inspired by the artistic process in this collaboration project,” she said. “Because this sculpture will grace the landscape of our school, students will be able to look at this sculpture for years to come, knowing that their voices were considered in the design.”

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