Life's Better Here: Bluffton 2012

By Eric Olson

August 9, 2012 Updated Aug 9, 2012 at 8:37 AM EDT

BLUFFTON, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)-So how do you take the pulse of a town? Discover something about the character of its people? Well, you look to the children.

The folks at Bluffton’s Creative Arts Council wanted a public art project that tied together the Wabash River greenway, Ouabache State Park and Bluffton’s new Visitor and Creative Arts Center. Norwell Middle School art teacher Hallie Koenig took up the challenge, marshalling her art students to design and build the project…a nature’s jigsaw puzzle. The kids created two giant paintings of locally significant images. They divided the paintings into sixteen squares and recreated those squares on 16 birdhouses. One painting was placed at the Creative Arts building on one end of the river greenway..the other at Oubache State Park at the other end with the birdhouses hung between the two along the Wabash River. Bluffton school kids did all the work themselves, including applying for a state grant, which they got, for funding.

“They loved working on the paintings,” says Hallie Koenig. “They loved building the bird houses they took a lot of pride.”

Since the project was built last spring thousands have played the game, walking the river greenway, finding the numbered images on each birdhouse and matching them to the big jigsaw paintings, learning about their town, their river and their state park along the way. And creating the civic leaders of tomorrow who enjoy a new appreciation for art, history, their community and each other.

One Day in Bluffton (INC Video) from Jenna Yonker on Vimeo.

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