Cultural impact: Main Street mural is latest public art installation in Zionsville


Celebrating the arts through engaging public projects is part of the mission of the Zionsville Cultural District.

Thanks to funding from the ZCD, a mural featuring Zionsville’s signature dahlia flowers imploring visitors to “be the reason someone smiles today” is the latest art installation to complement the town’s famous downtown Village.

The mural was completed the first week of May on the north side of the Cripe Photography building, 45 N. Main St. Ann Cripe owns the building on Zionsville’s famous brick thoroughfare that houses the photography studio that bears her family name.

A former Zionsville educator and artist, Cripe said she had hoped to work on a mural on the building herself, but said the effort was too difficult. She said placing the mural on her building just makes sense for the Village. She said the artwork complements other public art projects in town.

“It’s all just to make people smile and be happy,” Cripe said.

The piece was completed by Megan Jefferson, an Indianapolis-based mural artist. The Broad Ripple resident was commissioned by the ZCD to create the mural, which is adorned with dahlias and zinnias, both flowers belonging to the Asteraceae family.

Jefferson said nature, specifically flowers, is one of her favorite things to paint.

“I just really like to work with colors and how they make people feel,” Jefferson said. “My favorite thing to paint is zinnias, so this has zinnias (and dahlias), which is the Zionsville flower.”

The mural marks the seventh public art project brought forward by the ZCD. The project was completed just in time for visitors to return to the weekly farmers market held downtown.

In 2019, the ZCD started the Dahlia Project, providing dahlia tubers to residents during the Zionsville Farmers’ Market. Over the past five years, dozens of dahlia tubers have been given away, and the recipients are encouraged to bring back clippings of their flowers at the end of the market season. An expansion of the project is planned this year.

In 2022, the ZCD sponsored a pop-up traveling art exhibit, “Elm Street Park Sunshine,” by Karen Stanley. The large canvas print folds up and is used around the town for special events.

In 2023, the metal sculpture “Wingz” by artist Mark McGarvey was installed at Overleys Worman Park. The Bender Building historical photo display was also installed in downtown Zionsville in 2023.

Previous art installations include the “Lincoln Mural” painted by artist (Ne)Koda Witsken and the “Dahlia City” electrical box art painted by Cynthia Young.

The ZCD is also the sponsor of the sidewalk poetry project. Poems for permanent display are selected by the organization and stamped into concrete. Two poems are stamped into the concrete around Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library. The ZCD is in the process of selecting additional poems to be stamped this year.

The ZCD is also in the process of selecting an artist to complete the town’s next mural, which will be placed on the Barnes Building at 295 S. Main St. That mural is expected to be painted by mid- to late-September.

The public arts projects were some of the items presented during an April 30 reception at SullivanMunce Cultural Center, where the ZCD also presented its first-ever impact report. The report noted that in 2023, the ZCD completed three public art projects, held 13 free concerts, and gave away 176 dahlia tubers.

zionsville photo art Brick Street
The Bender Building historical photo display was also installed in downtown Zionsville in 2023. (Photo by Marney Simon)

About the Zionsville Cultural District

The Zionsville Cultural District’s mission is to market initiatives that benefit the community as a whole. Comprised of a 12-member board, the district has specific goals, including:

  • Promote Zionsville’s art and culture history and its community assets to enhance tourism and stimulate economic development.
  • Coordinate artistic, history-based and cultural experiences within the community in order to improve and enrich experiences for residents, local businesses and visitors.

The district’s mission is “to enrich the lives of residents and visitors by promoting and elevating the Arts, our history and culture.”

Learn more about ZCD at