Susan Alexander, business growth facilitator for the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, said Howard County and the city of Kokomo have been supportive of the project from the beginning.
Creating these kinds of public spaces can be beneficial for governments looking to attract new business.
“It makes the city feel alive,” she said. “It can fuel development. Many cities lead with great public spaces. The people come, and the development follows.”
That’s what she hopes will happen here.
Artist David Braun said it’s the first step toward creating a defined cultural district downtown, something that often appeals to the young professionals the city is trying to lure.
Braun, who works with kinetic art, already has big ideas for Artist Alley.
He wants to hollow out the insides of all the old parking meters that once dotted the downtown landscape and fill them with LED lights. Then he wants to use micro-controllers to link all of the lights and create a light show.
It’s a large project to tackle and one he may need help with. He said he’d like to involve some high school technology classes in it.
He wants to involve as many people as he can in building up Artist Alley. Braun even plans to talk to area shop classes. Some welding students may want to build pieces that could be displayed at the gallery.
The possibilities are endless, he said.
“We’ll start off slow, but I foresee us being able to handle a one-ton piece at some point that may be 8 feet tall,” he said.
All of the pieces in the gallery would be rotated out regularly so the alley space always feels fresh and new.
“This is a dynamic gallery,” Alexander said. “It won’t be a stagnant mural design. It will be a changing exhibit to highlight local artists.”