Faces Project Highlights Grand Islanders


You may notice some new faces next time you're in downtown Grand Island.

For the last few years kids in GI have been doing large public art installations to draw attention to the Hall County Student Art Show. This year they worked off a global project called the Inside Out Project that uses photos of people to showcase a community.

Plastering the portraits on the side of a building and in downtown business windows on Saturday was the last step in the "Faces of Grand Island Project". The GIPS students who installed the piece say it starts with photographs.

"We set up a photo shoot at the Salvation Army, but then we also set one up at the Conestoga Mall. So we did a couple shoots just to get a variety of people so everybody can be involved since everybody's part of the community," says GISH midterm graduate Travis Muirhead, who took some of the portraits used in the project.

The artists wanted all ages, races, and genders. The only rule: subjects had to be from Grand Island.

"Half the people were into it, they'd approach us and say, ‘Hey, I want you to take my picture,' and the other half you have to talk them into or they weren't interested," says GISH senior Luis Marquez, who also took pictures for "Faces".

Once the 80 prints were blown up, over half went on a wall near a parking area off North Locust Street, while students hung others in Third Street business windows like Azteca Market.

"I think it will just be perfect to post those there just because good, big windows and people pass by there all the time," says GISH sophomore Marco Garcia, whose family owns Azteca and other downtown properties.

Students and teachers say it's a unique chance to have art seen by more eyes and start more conversations.

"People come downtown all the time, so it's not just at school when like a couple parents go in and they see pictures, now it's just like every parent will see it if they come," says Marquez.

"Pretty sophisticated, not just another bronze statute downtown," says teacher Jerome Dubas. "This is contemporary public art reflecting what's going on in the world today."

The portraits are downtown where the Hall County Student Art Show is located as well. The show started April 11 and runs until May 3 at Bartenbach's Gallery.

Click HERE for more information about the Hall County Student Art Show.