Above: Members of the Washington Art Club work on the mural on the Tough of Heaven building. Working on the project are Drae Morrison and Lucas Grass in the foreground. Partially hidden behind grass is Washington art teacher Jennifer Peachee, and Hallie Hill is in the background. (Photo by Mike Grant | Times Herald)
Above: Members of the Washington Art Club work on the mural on the Tough of Heaven building. Working on the project are Drae Morrison and Lucas Grass in the foreground. Partially hidden behind grass is Washington art teacher Jennifer Peachee, and Hallie Hill is in the background. (Photo by Mike Grant | Times Herald)
Downtown Washington and Loogootee have become a little more artistic this summer. Backed with state grants, the Loogootee Eye Center and Touch of Heaven in Washington have added murals on their walls.

“We decided to put up a mural on the outside of our building. We made the application in April and were awarded the grant in May,” said one of the Eye Center owners Samantha Alvarez. “In early August our artist came down from Indianapolis and stayed four days and completed it.”

“We took the business over around four years ago. It was just a blah wall and while we wanted to do something with it, we didn’t have to money to do anything about it,” said Samantha Killough, owner of Touch of Heaven.

“We were approached by some people about a mural, but then COVID hit and that all stopped. Then this spring we heard about the grant program. We started working on the grant. It was a lot of work, but we landed it and now the mural is almost done.”

While the mural in Loogootee was done quickly, the one in Washington has come together at a more leisurely pace. The one in Loogootee was done by professional artist Barbara Stoll. The one in Washington is a project for the Washington High School Art Club.

“We were commissioned to work on the mural by Touch of Heaven,” said Washington High School art teacher Jennifer Peachee. “They received a grant from the state for it as part of the In Indiana campaign. They are trying to get people to appreciate what is available in Indiana and celebrate what each community has to offer. We are trying to celebrate a lot of country aspects of our community and we wanted to tie into the store. I am lucky enough to have the WHS Art Club students come and join in, plus there have been various people who have stopped by and picked up a paint brush and put their two-cents in it.”

“The artists are doing great. I am really thankful for their work,” said Killough. “We weren’t sure the art club would be able to do it with all of the things the kids have going on these days. We have been lucky enough to have four or five of those students help Mrs. Peachee and that is awesome because she doesn’t have to do it by herself.”

The murals are not cookie cutter projects. Each is unique with its own message.

“Ours says ‘Loogootee, Indiana, a small city with a big heart. Dr. Michael Alvarez 2022’ and it is shaped going down like an eye chart,” said Alvarez.

“We are trying to bring out things in Daviess County, kind of history,” added Killough. “There is a big part that is coming. There is still some to do.”

A glance at the Washington mural shows a round barn, the lighthouse from the Eastside Park, longhorn cattle, corn and more.

The building owners say they are very pleased with the mural results.

“I love it. It is way better in real life than the sketches,” said Killough. “I am going to put a sign on the door inviting people to take a closer look. The detail is so good. You can’t tell just driving by how awesome this is. We will be planning an event to show it off, we just have not set the date yet.”

“We came from a town that had a lot of murals on their older historic buildings. We knew we had a nice blank canvas on our wall. And Loogootee is in the process of beautifying its downtown area and we thought this would be a nice added touch to downtown,” said Alvarez. “I like the way it turned out. We are getting a lot of positive comments about it. Everybody seems to like it. It seems to be a real conversation piece and it is helping to bring the downtown area up a little notch.”

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