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Downtown Covington KY Mural Live Web Feed

Artworks Covington Mural Apprentices

Top to bottom left to right: Apprentices Alexandra Weibel, Scott Sanker, Teaching Artist Jasmine Akers, Apprentices Previn Beal, A.J. Newberry, and Evelynn Meyer.

I am now the project manager and lead artist of an even larger, more visible Artworks summer mural project!  Artworks is a Cincinnati non-profit that “empowers and inspires the creative community to transform our everyday environments through employment, apprenticeships, education, community partnerships, and civic engagement,” although they are mostly known for their murals.  This summer, my mural is one of about ten being painted in the Cincinnati area.

After a long saga involving an uncooperative Dayton Kentucky City Council, we have moved upstream.  I am now working in the Artworks Signcity of Covington, Kentucky, with fellow Cincinnati teaching artist Jasmine Akers and now seven apprentices, amazing young artists from the Cincinnati area Evelynn Meyer
, Scott Sanker
, William Moore
, AJ Newberry, Previn Beal
, Alexandra Weibel
, and Marvin Gay Lee Jr.  We are painting 11 panels on two sides of the Kerry Toyota Collision center at 24 E 5th St, Covington, KY 41011.  Marc Camardo and staff have been amazing.  If their willingness to help a rag tag group of artists is any indication of their commitment to customer service, I would say this must be the best collision repair center in the world.  Additionally, this is the cleanest building I have ever seen, which is a miracle when I consider how many greasy cars come in and out of their every year.

When we aren’t baking in the sun on Scott Blvd. between 4th and 5th Street, we are in our studio space, generously donated by the Covington Artisan’s Enterprise Center.  Cate Yellig and Natalie Bowers were instrumental in saving this project and bringing it to Covington.  So many people fought so hard to keep this boat afloat.  While the last month or so has admittedly been frustrating with so many stops and starts, the fact that we have begun an even bigger and better mural project in such a positive environment is a testament to the power of art.  That may seem dramatic, but if you could see what I have seen–people crying, yelling, laughing–all about the possibility of painting, you would recognize.  Plato knew it.  City Councils know it.  Art is power and a simple image can be transformative.

Covington Artworks Swagger

Covington Artworks Swagger

Unfortunately this block in Covington still has many vacant store fronts and unsavory happenings.  However, Covington is going through a renaissance and the mural is perfectly positioned and timed to make a meaningful contribution.  Our site is just up the street from the historic Roebling bridge, across the street from a newly remodeled Kenton County Public Library, and less than a block from the Gateway Community and Technical College.  When we are finished with the mural the entire block will look much different.  Our goal is to give the people of the neighborhood something positive, something colorful, something that will inspire young people to dream and wonder.

To see the mural unfold check this live feed!  The folks across the street at the PPS group were excited about this project and graciously offered to film it, feed it, and time lapse it later.  Check out this link to see the wall live, right now:  http://www.theppsgroup.com/ppstv/.  We are working near the camera right now (autoposting this blog!).  We will wave to you Monday through Friday at exactly noon.  Our work day is 9am-2pm.


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Bellevue Kentucky Mural

I had the pleasure of working this summer as a teaching artist in Bellevue, KY just over the river from Cincinnati on an outdoor mural project organized by Artworks Cincinnati and designed by project manager Scott Donaldson. Scott, myself, and teaching artist Emily Howard worked with a group of eight apprentices from all over the Cincinnati area to complete the mural over a period of five extremely hot summer weeks.  The talented apprentices are Shaelyn Beagle, Hannah Brewer, Molly Cardosi, Samuel Cope, Stephanie Corona, William Moore, Alexander Murphy-White, and Susan Romer.  From ArtworksCincinnati.org:

About this Project: ArtWorks is partnering with the Taft Museum of Art to take the Taft’s Art For All project to a larger scale! To celebrate its 80th anniversary, the Taft Museum of Art is bringing framed reproductions of 80 works from its collection to the streets and outdoor spaces of the Cincinnati metro area. This mural, ArtWorks’ first in Bellevue, will be inspired by art from the Taft’s collection. While the framed reproductions will only be available for the summer of 2012, this mural will have a much longer lifespan.

We had a fantastic time painting, sweating, climbing up and down scaffolding, getting to know each other, and enjoying the quaint and artist-friendly community of Bellevue.  Our “studio” was just down Fairmont Ave. in the Bellevue Beadery.  The beadery’s owner Joanna Maehren, provided us with much needed encouragement and support early on in the project (as well as a place to escape from the hot sun!).

Our mural is on the wall of Pitri’s Flowers, in the parking lot of the adjacent Dobbling, Muehlenkamp-Erschell Funeral Home.  The funeral home folks were so kind and grateful.  On multiple occasions, they even let us sit in one of their visitation rooms and eat ice cream.  Additionally, the proximity to the funeral home provided me with plenty of opportunities to make morbid jokes!  I like the idea that our mural will add just a little cheer and life to many future somber events.

I was surprised and encouraged at the overwhelmingly positive response from the community, the talent and enthusiasm of the apprentices and the professionalism and general awesomeness of my new artist friends Emily and Scott.  I am hopeful that I can work on another Artworks Cincinnati project in the future.

The scaffolding will come off in a couple weeks and we will have a dedication at some point in September.  I write another post with details about the dedication and photos of the finished mural.  In the meantime, check out these in progress photos below, and if you are in the Cincinnati area please stop by and check out our hard work!

 

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