VERMILLION, S.D. (KCAU) – One center in Vermillion is showing how much pride they have in their community with a mural.

Organized by the United Way of Vermillion, the new mural stands in the Community Connection Center, the site of a former hardware store.

“So it’s a little industrial, a little plain, and so we have this gigantic wall in the Meyer Community Room, which is where the community meal takes place during non-COVID times and we really wanted something that would make it a little bit more warm and inviting, but also connect with a lot of the mural art that’s happening around Vermillion,” said Kelsey Collier-Wise, executive director of United Way of Vermillion.

Ideas for the mural design was a combination of Collier-Wise and community input.

“We had hoped initially that these would be sort of in-person events and sessions to garner some of those ideas, but with COVID, we had to take a few detours and ultimately we got quite a bit of feedback via Facebook, the Facebook pages for the CCC and for United Way of Vermillion and those ideas all got wrapped in,” said Susan Heggestad, teaching artist from Vermillion.

Normally, the limitations caused by the pandemic can be seen as a challenge for these types of projects, but for this it was seen as a positive.

“Although it was a pandemic, it did allow for quite a bit more flexibility and when things could happen. It’s true, I was by myself, but I could paint for four hours on a Saturday and not worry about conflicting with an event or randomly come in the evenings. So we had some give and take there,” said Heggestad.

“The way that I see this is a continuation of the other murals in town that are public art. This is also public art and it just says that everyone is welcome here and also everyone deserves to have beautiful things around them regardless of their circumstances,” said Collier-Wise.