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Fine Arts Fund's Ta-Da Moment

Art lovers, friends and neighbors paint a mural on 12th Street in OTR

By Selena Reder · September 22nd, 2010 · Visual Art
The unexpected happens in Cincinnati when Fine Arts Fund (FAF) gets involved. Belly dancers shake in the Carew Tower’s arcade. Bus passengers break out into spontaneous storytelling. A giant flash-mob dances in the rain on Fountain Square. The FAF has been wowing us with these art happenings for the past few years, and now it’s doing it again.

Twelfth Street in Over-the-Rhine will change in a dramatic way on Sunday. As part of the second annual “Ta-Da” celebration, the FAF hosts an eight-hour painting marathon. Twelfth will be blocked from Main Street to Central Parkway and, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., around 600 volunteers will cover a half-mile stretch of road with several hundred gallons of paint. The resulting mural will be something of a pathway to Cincinnati’s unofficial arts district. While the mural is permanent, it will wear over time and eventually be demolished along the route for the streetcar.

Artists Danny Babcock, Matt Dayler, Pam Kravetz, Carla Lamb and Karen Saunders are collaborating on the design for this massive Paint the Street project. Babcock and Dayler have painted murals on the Know Theatre building for the last three years of the Fringe Festival. Dayler explains that they paint the murals in five to seven nights.

“(We) strive for efficient use of time, supplies and unique creative vision,” he says.

As part of FAF’s 2009 campaign, Kravetz, Lamb and Saunders worked with local students to turn Metro and TANK buses into mobile galleries (pictured above).

“Even as over 500 volunteers are painting, they will only see a portion of the street mural,” Kravetz says. “At the end of the day the entire image will be revealed.”

Kravetz won’t give the specific details of the painting, but he will say it is for the community, by the community and it will celebrate all of us.

To achieve that goal, FAF hosted a “visioning session” at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. The event was open to the community and facilitated by Associate Professor and Director of DAAP Michaele Pride. Community members discussed the project and Pride gave out 20 pieces of paper for them to write and sketch ideas.

Another way in which FAF is gathering community input for Paint the Street is by knocking on doors. FAF Vice President Margy Waller says they are talking to businesses, nonprofits and neighbors in an effort to get everyone on board. The response has been positive.

Mike Deininger, co-owner of Mica 12/V on Vine Street at 12th, is thrilled. He says this project will create an amazing path that people can follow. When he tries to direct his customers to visit shops on Main, they're sometimes uneasy about walking along 12th.

“This is a great way to bridge the gap,” says Deininger, who co-owns the shop with his wife Carolyn and says they both plan to volunteer to paint Sunday. “(Over-the-Rhine) is a neighborhood, and I think that is what this project is going to establish.”

With the FAF hosting community events and art happenings that pop up around town, it’s possible to lose sight of the final F in the Fine Arts Fund’s name. Waller says the FAF is shifting its goals, which is reflected by a new name for the organization, ArtsWave.

“We keep fundraising but are also expanding the way we think about our role in the community,” Waller says. “The arts make our community vibrant. Art brings people together.”

Paint the Street will be a visible reminder of that unity.

FINE ARTS FUND is looking for volunteers to paint. You can sign up here.

Get more information on the organization's change to the new name, ARTSWAVE, here.



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