A new mural debuted in Fishers today on the Fishers Police Department along the new Nickel Plate Trail.
The 1,000-square-foot Blazing the Trail mural is located on the rear wall of the Fishers Police (4 Municipal Drive, Fishers). The mural is the work of Terre Haute-based artist Becky Hochhalter and showcases Fishers’ vibrant community life, featuring iconic landmarks, traditions, and local heroes. Subjects include the Fishers High School and Hamilton Southeastern High School mascots; the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater; inspiration from the historic Bell Ford Bridge, which will be part of the new Geist Greenway; and a tribute to Fishers Police Department’s late K-9 Harlej.
The work was funded by the Fishers Arts & Culture Commission (FACC) and will serve as a key feature of Fishers’ new Nickel Plate Trail.
“Becky’s mural embodies our vision for the city to not only represent who we are today, but who we hope to be in the future—a smart, vibrant, and entrepreneurial city energized and experienced through arts, architecture, and culture,” said David Decker, Chair of the Fishers Arts & Culture Commission. “The mural serves as a key activation point for the Nickel Plate Trail and is the start to many exciting projects to come.”
The artwork’s title, Blazing the Trail, was suggested by artist Becky Hochhalter’s daughter, Peyton, who is currently a senior at Indiana State University.
“As this mural was the beginning of new and exciting developments along the Nickel Plate trail, it seemed that the community was, quite literally, blazing a new trail for the enjoyment of all,” said Hochhalter. “The name captured this next chapter in Fishers perfectly.”
Hochhalter’s proposal was submitted through a RFQ process and selected by the Fishers Arts & Culture Commission’s Nickel Plate District Cultural Designation Subcommittee, which includes representatives from local non-profit arts organizations, Nickel Plate District business owners, residents, Commission members, and City of Fishers staff, including representatives with the Fishers Police Department.
Hochhalter worked with the Fishers Arts & Culture Commission’s Nickel Plate District Cultural Designation Subcommittee on the community elements depicted in the piece, with a special suggestion from the Fishers Police Department to include late K-9 Harlej. Fishers Police Officer Jarred Koopman and his family helped Hochhalter paint Harlej’s portrait as part of the mural.
“My goal was to include a variety of elements in a way that depicted diversity on every level. I wanted every member of the community to be able to relate to some or many parts of the mural, and to see themselves and their life in Fishers in this piece,” said Hochhalter. “Having Officer Koopman’s family come out to put their own touches on the memorial portrait of their beloved K-9 Harlej meant so much to me, and I was very honored to be a part of that moment with them.”
Born and raised in Terre Haute, self-taught award-winning artist Becky Gropp Hochhalter has been working in art related fields for 35 years. While this is her first work in Fishers, Hochhalter’s artwork can be found on display throughout Indiana and includes murals, traditional commissioned paintings and drawings, digital paintings, illustrations, and photography. One of her most notable recent works in 2020 included creating artwork for the Welcome Race Fans campaign for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in conjunction with the Indy Arts Council. This artwork was used for a nine-story projection on the Indianapolis Power and Light building on Monument Circle in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. Other recent works from 2020 included illustrating two children’s books, and mural panels for the Key Bank building in Noblesville, Indiana.
Learn more about the artwork and Hochhalter’s process with this video.