ArtWorks has lots of exciting projects planned for this summer's mural program
Work is already underway to restore the Homage to Cincinnatus
mural on the Kroger headquarters at Vine Street and Central Parkway. ArtWorks is coordinating the restoration with the mural's original artist, Richard Haas, and the Thomas Melvin Studio.
Because of the swing-scaffolding that will be used on the seven-story mural, professional local artists have been hired to complete the project. ArtWorks apprentices, who usually paint the summer murals, will instead work with local filmmaker Lauren Pray on a documentary about the restoration project.
In the 30 years since Homage to Cincinnatus
was completed, the mural-making process has remained largely the same in terms of execution, according to Christine Carli, director of communications at ArtWorks.
“The paint we use is a specific kind, NovaColor, which is a very durable paint for outdoor use,” she says. “After the mural is painted, we put on several clear coats to protect it from sun and rain damage. We expect the murals to last for at least 20 years.”
Preparation work is also underway for the Ezzard Charles mural at Republic and West Liberty streets in Over-the-Rhine. Once the wall is ready to go, ArtWorks apprentices will work with artist Jason Snell to transform the wall into an homage to the “Cincinnati Cobra,” as Charles was known to boxing fans.
This mural is part of the Cincinnati Legends series, which includes Snell's design of the Henry Holtgrewe mural on Vine between 13th and 14th streets. The Charles mural will be “more figurative and less illustrative” than the Holtgrewe design, Carli says.
“ArtWorks is really excited about the Ezzard Charles mural,” she says. “It will officially be our 100th mural, and we will be doing a lot of programming about that, including a celebration at the end of the project when we dedicate the mural.”
Charles was chosen for the 100th mural subject because of his “rich history in sports and Cincinnati and because he has so many ties to so many famous Cincinnatians, including Theodore Berry, who was his mentor,” Carli says. “We are excited to celebrate Ezzard Charles with this really beautiful image.”
A mural at Main and East Liberty streets will honor Cincinnati's musical heritage and the individuals who shaped the “Cincinnati Sound.”
“The image will be a really cool graphic portrayal of James Brown,” Carli says. “This is a part of Liberty where not a lot of people walk but where a lot of people drive by, so we wanted to choose one really stunning image.”
Cincinnati's brewing heritage will be showcased in two murals. The Over-the-Rhine Brewery District Community Redevelopment Corporation is sponsoring its second mural, this one located on the north side of the new Christian Moerlein brewery housed in the historic Kauffman malt house. The second mural will be located on the historic Schoenling brewery at Liberty Street and Central Parkway, now home to the Samuel Adams brewery.
“In the next three to five years there will be a nice cluster of public art in the Northern Liberties,” Carli says of the area north of Liberty Street.
In the fall, ArtWorks will add another mural to the Cincinnati Masters Series, the first female depicted is the series. A painting of artist Elizabeth Nourse will be done in collaboration with the Mercantile Library.
As ArtWorks completes its 100th mural this summer, are they struggling to find subjects? Carli says no.
“We never run out of ideas because a lot of them come out of the community and Cincinnati history,” she says. “Our work with communities and neighborhoods keeps everything fresh and evolving.”
The public and communities are able to get directly involved with ArtWorks mural projects by helping support a $25,000 matching grant given by The George and Margaret McLane Foundation. Five ArtWorks projects — including the Ezzard Charles, Cincinnati Sound and the Brewery District murals as well as a community mural in Evanston
— are featured on Power2Give
. Donors can choose which of the five projects they want to support with a donation.
“Depending on where you live or work or the type of art you're interested in, you can pick your favorite mural to support,” Carli says. “This matching gift and Power2Give gives us a conduit to empower communities to raise funds for the projects they're supporting. The matching grant gives people an immediate way to click and donate.”
ArtWorks and its community partners will be promoting the grant and matching opportunity through community council meetings, newsletters and social media.
People are also encouraged to engage with ArtWorks apprentices through social media and the ArtWorks walking tours.
“Last year we started using #ArtWorksHere for apprentices to document their experiences on the worksite,” Carli says. “We encouraged apprentices to share positive experiences, friends they've made, progress on the mural, something new they learned that day and to say thank you.”
Carli advises those interested in following the 2015 and hashtag that many of the apprentices use Instagram rather than Twitter or Facebook.
Apprentices also conduct two Saturday walking tours each weekend
showcasing ArtWorks murals in Downtown (Cincinnati Genius Tour) and Over-the-Rhine (Spirit of OTR Tour). The ArtWorks apprentice program is “not just learning how to paint,” Carli says. “We provide training for public speaking, and by the end of the experience they grow up and become more poised and confident.”
As ArtWorks apprentices are busy with murals and media projects, the staff will be planning for next summer, their 20th year bringing art to Cincinnati neighborhoods.