12th Street mural will connect the dots in OTR

The asphalt of Twelfth Street in Over-the-Rhine will become a canvas for one of the world's largest paint-by-number projects this fall. Tonight the artists who will design the work are asking residents what that mural should be about.

At a meeting in the lecture hall at the Art Academy, DAAP professor Michaele Pride will moderate a discussion between local residents and the five artists charged with designing the 12th Street painting. On September 26, the artists will draw a chalk outline on the street and oversee 500 volunteer painters during a one-day "paint party" on 12th Street from Main to Central Parkway.

Organizers at the Fine Arts Fund (FAF) hope the "art mob" that paints the mural will set a world record for a paint-by-number event, but they also hope they'll create a finished product that will become an attraction for the neighborhood, FAF vice president for the Arts and Culture partnership Margy Waller said.

The painting could also become a physical art-bond between the Main St. and Vine St. districts of Over-the-Rhine, and codify the neighborhood's status as Cincinnati's unofficial arts district with art schools, theatres, galleries and arts organizations lining either side of the street.

The mural will have five or six "design bursts," or concentrated areas of color, as it stretches along seven city blocks. Waller said that street paintings typically last 6 months to 2 years, depending on the amount of street traffic, but added that streetcar construction could remove the mural before it has a chance to fade.

The project comes with its share of hurdles; the street must be closed, 500 different creative personalities must be harmonized by 5 different lead artists and the design must address the topics du jour on local residents' minds while having curb appeal to make it an asset to the district.

The five artists charged with the task of designing and executing the mural have a breadth of style and backgrounds, and years of experience creating public art in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine.

Matt Dayler and Danny Babcock have been painting the south side of the Know Theatre for the last three years of the Fringe Festival, and recently received a flurry of press coverage for a mural of T.O., Ochocinco and Chris Henry on the side of All About Colors Autobody at the corner of Ravine and Central Parkway.

Pam Kravetz, Carla Lamb, and Karen Saunders worked on the Fine Arts Fund bus murals last year, and designed the Artworks "art rack" bicycle rack in front of the downtown Coffee Emporium together.

Volunteers who wish to join the "art mob" can sign up here and those who would like to share their ideas with the artists can do so between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Art Academy, 1212 Jackson Street.

Writer: Henry Sweets
Photography by Scott Beseler
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