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Muralworks paints the city

By Laura James · June 18th, 2007 · The Big Picture
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  Mark Mallory and Tamara Harkavay unveil Muralworks, a component of Summer Youth Jobs Initiative.
ArtWorks

Mark Mallory and Tamara Harkavay unveil Muralworks, a component of Summer Youth Jobs Initiative.



I was driving down Central Parkway one morning last week when I noticed Mayor Mark Mallory. He was standing with a group of people in an Over-the-Rhine cranny, behind an official-looking podium and in front of a plain brick wall. I wondered why the mayor would hold a press conference in what appeared to be an arbitrary, unsightly spot.

As I drove past, I didn't notice that among those standing with Mallory was a cluster of teenagers and the director of ArtWorks, Tamara Harkavy. I later learned that Mallory and Harkavy and the teens were standing in that awkward place to announce the first summer of MURALWORKS, a new component of Mallory's Summer Youth Jobs Initiative.

MuralWorks is "a youth mural artist program that hires and trains youth to neighborhood murals," says Jason Barron, public relations manager for Mallory. "The goal (of the program) is to transform neighborhoods by creating inspiring works of public art that will have a lasting community impact."

Cincinnati communities turned in applications in March of this year to be considered for funds for the project. Seven areas were chosen for this summer's program: Clifton, Downtown, Madisonville, Millvale, Over-the-Rhine, Roselawn and Walnut Hills. Only seven communities, because right now that is all the program can afford.

"This is just the first summer of MuralWorks," Mallory said at the press conference. "Eventually we could have multiple murals in all of our neighborhoods."

For the time spanning 2007 to 2009, the city of Cincinnati has promised MuralWorks $120,000. ArtWorks was able to collect over $400,000 in private grants from Cincinnati companies such as UBS, Proctor & Gamble and Fifth Third Bank. The H.B., E.W. and F.R. Luther Charitable Foundation and Narley L. Haley also contributed to ArtWorks' private fund-raising.

The murals themselves will be designed, painted and assembled by approximately 170 young Cincinnati "apprentices" -- all of whom are between ages 14 and 19. The apprentices will work in groups; each group will have the guidance of a professional artist "mentor" from our city.

The training and orientation for the apprentices begins June 18 at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

"MuralWorks will provide jobs and income for talented teens," Harkavy said at the press conference.

"MuralWorks also offers the opportunity for local residents to collaborate with professional artists, giving communities the chance to express neighborhood identity through the creation of large-scale community murals."

ArtWorks has interviewed and hired young artists to prepare the murals and to paint them when the time comes. So far, only one mural's art has been approved -- that for the cranny in Over-the-Rhine that was the site for last Tuesday's press conference.

"Cincinnati neighborhoods, where walls are blank, can now become colorful murals depicting vibrant landscapes, historic figures, local heroes and more," said Harkavy. "Cincinnati's walls will tell many stories, and MuralWorks is proud to help create them."

So many of those blank, boring, abandoned walls, like the one that served as a backdrop for Mayor Mallory's press conference and like those found in every neighborhood of our city, will eventually be culturally relevant creations -- images that serve to voice the outlook of each part of our city.

I'm glad that children are the leaders of this project -- not politicians or professional artists. With any luck, we will find images of a youthful utopia: peace, generosity, forgiveness and hope.

It's hard to locate these ideals, even as possibilities, in the minds of contemporary adults. It's time for us to be enlightened.



CONTACT LAURA JAMES: ljames(at)
  Mark Mallory and Tamara Harkavay unveil Muralworks, a component of Summer Youth Jobs Initiative.
ArtWorks

Mark Mallory and Tamara Harkavay unveil Muralworks, a component of Summer Youth Jobs Initiative.



I was driving down Central Parkway one morning last week when I noticed Mayor Mark Mallory. He was standing with a group of people in an Over-the-Rhine cranny, behind an official-looking podium and in front of a plain brick wall. I wondered why the mayor would hold a press conference in what appeared to be an arbitrary, unsightly spot.

As I drove past, I didn't notice that among those standing with Mallory was a cluster of teenagers and the director of ArtWorks, Tamara Harkavy. I later learned that Mallory and Harkavy and the teens were standing in that awkward place to announce the first summer of MURALWORKS, a new component of Mallory's Summer Youth Jobs Initiative.

MuralWorks is "a youth mural artist program that hires and trains youth to neighborhood murals," says Jason Barron, public relations manager for Mallory. "The goal (of the program) is to transform neighborhoods by creating inspiring works of public art that will have a lasting community impact."

Cincinnati communities turned in applications in March of this year to be considered for funds for the project. Seven areas were chosen for this summer's program: Clifton, Downtown, Madisonville, Millvale, Over-the-Rhine, Roselawn and Walnut Hills. Only seven communities, because right now that is all the program can afford.

"This is just the first summer of MuralWorks," Mallory said at the press conference. "Eventually we could have multiple murals in all of our neighborhoods."

For the time spanning 2007 to 2009, the city of Cincinnati has promised MuralWorks $120,000. ArtWorks was able to collect over $400,000 in private grants from Cincinnati companies such as UBS, Proctor & Gamble and Fifth Third Bank. The H.B., E.W. and F.R. Luther Charitable Foundation and Narley L. Haley also contributed to ArtWorks' private fund-raising.

The murals themselves will be designed, painted and assembled by approximately 170 young Cincinnati "apprentices" -- all of whom are between ages 14 and 19. The apprentices will work in groups; each group will have the guidance of a professional artist "mentor" from our city.

The training and orientation for the apprentices begins June 18 at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

"MuralWorks will provide jobs and income for talented teens," Harkavy said at the press conference. "MuralWorks also offers the opportunity for local residents to collaborate with professional artists, giving communities the chance to express neighborhood identity through the creation of large-scale community murals."

ArtWorks has interviewed and hired young artists to prepare the murals and to paint them when the time comes. So far, only one mural's art has been approved -- that for the cranny in Over-the-Rhine that was the site for last Tuesday's press conference.

"Cincinnati neighborhoods, where walls are blank, can now become colorful murals depicting vibrant landscapes, historic figures, local heroes and more," said Harkavy. "Cincinnati's walls will tell many stories, and MuralWorks is proud to help create them."

So many of those blank, boring, abandoned walls, like the one that served as a backdrop for Mayor Mallory's press conference and like those found in every neighborhood of our city, will eventually be culturally relevant creations -- images that serve to voice the outlook of each part of our city.

I'm glad that children are the leaders of this project -- not politicians or professional artists. With any luck, we will find images of a youthful utopia: peace, generosity, forgiveness and hope.

It's hard to locate these ideals, even as possibilities, in the minds of contemporary adults. It's time for us to be enlightened.



CONTACT LAURA JAMES: ljames(at)citybeat.com
 
 
 
 

 

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