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Eastern Nebraska Grain

The first project in Spreetail's new Elevate initiative will be to cover this grain elevator along Salt Creek Roadway near North 27th Street with 20-foot-by-60-foot banners featuring submitted designs. 

A grain elevator in north Lincoln is the first structure getting a makeover as part of a new initiative that seeks to beautify high-traffic parts of the city.

Local ecommerce firm Spreetail recently launched the program, called Elevate.

Its first project will be installing 13 pieces of artwork on the side of the Eastern Nebraska Grain LLC elevator located on Salt Creek Roadway, considered “a major eyesore for anyone entering Lincoln from North 27th Street."

“We had been looking for an opportunity to bring a public art project to life, and one day, we looked out the window of our office and saw the beaten-down grain elevators across the street,” said Elevate spokeswoman Makenzie Reynoldson. “That’s when the idea struck and our team decided to take action by becoming place-makers who bring positive change to Lincoln in an area with so much to offer.”

Place-makers are people who bring positive change by reimagining public spaces, according to the Community Health Endowment of Lincoln.

Elevate is asking artists to submit artwork that visualizes what a happy and healthy community looks like. Submissions will be accepted through June 14.

Community leaders will select the winning 13 pieces, which will be enlarged to 20-foot-by-60-foot billboard banners and hung on the side of the grain elevator Aug. 31.

Winners will be notified June 29. The banners will be there for four years before they're taken down and recycled.

Spreetail is still looking for business partners willing to judge submissions, along with graphic designers to help with the process of turning the art into large billboard posters.

This is the first community art project that Elevate has started. A similar project was created in Omaha in 2010, when an organization called Emerging Terrain hung art banners on grain elevators along Interstate 80.

Those banners were taken down in 2014 after the organization dissolved and no one wanted to pay the $30,000 needed to clean them.

Spreetail is planning to maintain all of the banners for the entire four-year period, said spokeswoman Samantha Gerken.

Artists can email their submissions to elevate@spreetail.com with their name, phone number, a short biography and an explanation of their artwork to be considered for the installation. There is no age limit for people who want to submit work.

“This is a pretty amazing project and I’m (looking forward) to have any local artists involved,” said Emily Olinger, Spreetail's "head of people and culture." “This idea of beautifying Lincoln is what I’m most excited about."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7214 or lwagner@journalstar.com.

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City desk intern

Summer 2018 city desk intern for the Journal Star.

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