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Madam C.J. Walker Portrait

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty

INDIANAPOLIS — By Next February, a mural depicting the life and accomplishments of Madam C.J. Walker will be on display in the Civic Plaza at Indianapolis International Airport.

Monday, the airport received the go ahead for the project from the Indianapolis Bicentennial Commission. A search for a digital artist to create the mural design began in August and wraps up October 18. Preference is being given to Black artists living in Marion and surrounding counties.

“Commemorating Madam Walker is an important step in helping travelers associate Indianapolis with a strong inclusive culture and continuing values of entrepreneurship, community service, and civic pride,” said IAA Executive Director Mario Rodriguez. “The airport mural will set the stage to inspire travelers with Madam Walker’s historic importance as they experience the city and see traces of her impact that have carried through the past and into the present.”

Walker, who died in 1919, was considered the wealthiest self-made Black businesswoman of her time, her fortune coming from the cosmetics and hair care company she founded in Indianapolis.

The mural, which will be on display for two years, will portray Walker’s lasting impact on the physical, social, cultural, and economic legacy of Indiana Avenue and the City of Indianapolis.

According to the Indianapolis Airport Authority, The Bicentennial Commission endorsed the Madam Walker mural project specifically because it connects to Indianapolis’ bicentennial history, will be readily open and accessible to the public and will be fully funded by the airport.

“We are excited to collaborate with the Indianapolis Airport Authority and the Arts Council of Indianapolis on this mural to showcase the legacy of Madam Walker and her legacy’s significant impact on our city,” said Joyce Q. Rogers, Madam Walker Legacy Center Board Chairperson. “Through this partnership, people traveling near and far will have the opportunity to enjoy this display at one our most prominent community assets, the Indy Airport.”

For more information about the public call for artist applications, visit the Indy Arts Guide. [indyartsguide.org]

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