In many Indiana towns and cities, you can see the clear signs of a Main Street revitalization; The Office of Community and Rural Affairs is even offering funding to downtown organizations to initiate “placemaking” which encourages communities to reinvent public spaces to help create a connection between citizens and their communities.
Things to Do in Brazil, Indiana
Drive East from Terre Haute on historic Highway 40, the Main Street of America, and see some great examples of placemaking in Brazil. Brazil Main Street along with the city have initiated many improvements along Highway 40 including painted flower boxes, murals, benches provided by Rotary, holiday decorations that change with the seasons and facade improvements on the historic buildings that sit downtown.
Their most recent project is an interactive wall that you’d miss if you blink twice driving through, but if you look a little closer, you will see a super fun, very interactive space that you and your kiddos are sure to enjoy!
If you’re traveling East on Highway 40, you can find the wall (in the alley) on the North side of the highway, across from Pappy’s Barbque. It’s a truly magical wall of whimsy in the middle of downtown Brazil.
Upon arriving at the wall, my daughter stared with wonder at the rock garden, which implores visitors to, “Take a rock, paint a rock.” She looked shocked because I told her to take a rock for us to paint at home! She could scarcely believe that she was allowed to take something from this place. (Side note: if you don’t follow the Terre Haute Rocks group on Facebook, you should!)
My little is quite obsessed with kitties; how fitting that we should find an interactive bench complete with…you guessed it…a CAT! When the wall was being painted, people were encouraged to write their names on the leaves, solidifying that connection between those kiddos and this beautiful place! What kiddo doesn’t want to see their name on an art wall?
I have to say, one of my favorite parts of the space was the stairwell that was painted to represent a selection of classic books! What better way to encourage a love of reading than to imagine giant books with beautiful artwork.
There are endless opportunities there to talk to your kiddos about art, space, color, dimension and so much more. In addition, it’s a great photo opportunity for kids and adults alike. I think every adult could use a push to see things with a childlike sense of wonder that is so special, magical and fleeting. This space does all of that and more.
Take a trip over to Brazil to experience this interactive wall for yourself, no matter your age. While you’re there, stop in at Lynn’s Pharmacy for an old fashioned soda, get bbq at Pappy’s, or grab a sandwich at Eddie’s Sandwich Shop. Make the short drive over and let your inner child play, you won’t regret it!
Author/Photographer Bio: Emily Murray is a native Hoosier and has been a Hautian implant since coming to ISU for college in 2003. She now enjoys life in the Haute with her daughter. Emily works in the nonprofit world and dabbles in photography, dog cuddling, running and eating (lots of eating). You can find Emily online (and reach out to her for her photography services!) at Mercy Me Photography.