The past year and few months have been quite the little adventure for “bat girl,” the public art mural first installed at the beginning of 2019, which was then taken down only to be reinstalled at a different location — and this time with a few of her famous friends.
The work of artist and Springfield native son C. Coles Phillips helped define the aesthetic of early twentieth century America. His "fadeaway girl" style, which utilized negative space, could be found on the covers of Life and other magazines throughout the country.
Now three of his illustrations have made their way back to his hometown some one hundred years later. Phillips’s works can now be found on the side of the 10 and 1/2 building on North Fountain Avenue, the result of a public art campaign from the Springfield public art committee, the Turner Foundation, and the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The last of the illustrations was mounted to the side of the building last week.
"Now there’s a neat little triptych on the side of the 10 and 1/2 building," says Chris Schutte, vice president of destination marketing and communications for the visitors bureau.
"Once we get back to normal times, it will be a nice place to sit and have a drink right under the murals, right there at Stella Bleu."
Stella Bleu Bistro is temporarily closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mural, what’s referred to as “bat girl,” initially went up in the beginning of 2019 before it was removed to make room for the Greetings from Springfield mural. Two additional Phillips illustrations were then selected and a new site was chosen.
The installations are part of a new focus on public art in the city.
"We have taken a lot of benchmarking trips to places like Columbus, Indiana, and Pensacola, Florida. There’s always a commonality and it’s public art throughout the downtowns," Schutte says.
"It could be murals or sculptures or even figurative bike racks. There’s a common thread through the communities that have a vitality to them and it’s public art."
View the C. Coles Phillips murals on the side of the 10 and 1/2 building in downtown Springfield.
Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.