A touch of spring has arrived in downtown Battle Creek. On January 15, a new public art mural was installed on a vacant building at the corner of West Michigan Avenue and McCamly Street.

Artist Kimber Thompson walked by the building on a daily basis as she made her way to the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau where she works as the marketing manager. “When I would walk by this building and look at two doors, covered in plywood, I envisioned painting something here that would add an artful view for me (and others) to enjoy” explains Thompson. “The doors now show a beautiful scene of the Battle Creek River.”

Since 2013, the Battle Creek Downtown Partnership, a part of Battle Creek Unlimited, has focused on adding art into the downtown. “We’ve worked with several local artists to bring new pieces into the downtown as well as relocating several sculptures,” explains Alyssa Jones, business development and communications manager for the organization. “The artful additions include the Cube, the Cyclist, the Combine, a mosaic, a mural at Friendship Park and the window installation at 121 W. Michigan Avenue.”

The Battle Creek River mural was initially unveiled at the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau offices during the annual Fall into the Arts Art Walk, an event programmed by the Downtown Partnership. “Kimber had the idea for the mural and approached the Downtown Partnership,” Jones adds. “She had a vision, secured an anonymous donor to pay for her time and the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau paid for her materials – she made it very easy for us to approach the Calhoun County Land Bank, who owns the property, to receive approvals and move forward with her vision.”

“It’s exciting to see it finally installed,” says Thompson.

Thompson is an active artist in the Battle Creek and Marshall areas. She is currently working on her fourth ArtPrize entry, to be displayed in Grand Rapids this fall, titled “RealiTV”. She also consulted on Kingman Museum’s “Big Molt/New Skin” transformation where she will be the lead artist on several murals planned for the museum. Thompson also works with sculptor Sabine LeDieu as part of Public Works of Art where both blend their artistic talents to create public eco-art pieces. This spring, Thompson and LeDieu will create a Phoenix sculpture from an Ash tree at Leila Arboretum to create awareness for the upcoming Fantasy Forest Art Competition held June 13-20 at the Arboretum. For more information on Thompson’s art projects, visit http://www.kimbervision.com.

The Downtown Partnership is working with the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau on another art installation that will be installed in early spring, as well as holding an official ribbon cutting ceremony at the community mural installed in the fall of 2014 at Friendship Park. During the ceremony, the name of the mural will be revealed.