Studio art major paints mural at Books & Brews South Indy

Seventy hours. That is how long University of Indianapolis senior studio art major with a concentration in painting Leah Diekhoff spent painting a mural for Books & Brews South Indy.

Owner and operator of Books & Brews South Indy Keith Fetchman said that he reached out to the Department of Art & Design last year to see if there were any students interested in painting a mural. Diekhoff said that her department recommended her.

According to Diekhoff, she began talking with Books & Brews earlier in the year. Diekhoff said she started the mural in September and worked two days a week for five hours at a time. According to Fetchman, she gave him two different sketches varying the sizes of the books to be painted on the building.

“For the most part, I had almost entirely creative freedom,” Diekhoff said. “They definitely wanted books but then they wanted a few of them to be not super specific, but they wanted Shakespeare in there and they wanted Jane Austen.”

Photo by Jordan Fisher Visitors at Books & Brews South Indy are now welcomed by a mural showing books from various authors. Some of the authors chosen were requested to be on the mural, while the rest were left up to the artist, Leah Diekhoff.

Diekhoff got to choose the other books that were not specified by Fetchman. She chose other classics such as “Frankenstein” and “Jane Eyre” that are not under copyright anymore to avoid any copyright issues, she said.

Fetchman said that Diekhoff gave Books & Brews her design and said it looked really interesting. He said it was a great match for what Books & Brews offers, both food-wise and book-wise.

“She had an idea to have books like falling over on a bookshelf, then to do Jane Austen, which is a very well-known individual who wrote ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ which also correlated with one of our menu items ‘Pickles and Prejudice’,” Fetchman said.

This is the first mural Diefhoff has ever done, she said, and it is the largest canvas she has ever worked on.

“I think at the beginning I was intimidated because I haven’t done too many commissions,” Diekhoff said. “I’ve done a few but it’s like meeting with people and getting what they want, especially on something I’ve never done before. It was a little scary.”

Photo by Jordan Fisher Jane Austen, the author of the book “Pride and Prejudice” was one of the authors featured in Leah Diekhoff’s mural on the outside of Books & Brews South Indy. Austen was one of the authors Diekhoff was requested to include.

She said that once she started painting the mural that it was fine. According to Diekhof, she did not face many challenges other than facing her fear of heights by working on a ladder to reach the top parts of the mural. 

Fetchman said that Diekhoff may do some other work for Books & Brews in the future. The two have talked about painting a bike near the bike rack and some sort of fantasy mural on the inside of the building, Diekhoff said. 

Diekhoff considers working with Books & Brews a good experience, and additionally she says it has inspired other businesses to contact her. Multiple people have come and asked for information, according to Diekhoff. 

“It started something because I’ve had one other person that came to me that was really interested, he’s a principal at a school nearby and now I’m working on a sketch for him,” Diekhoff said. “So, something has come of it.” 

Diekhoff said she has some small details to finish and the mural is expected to be completed soon. The book end of the mural can be seen heading north on Shelby Street at the Books & Brews South Indy location, right across from Greyhound Village.

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