It’s hard to imagine Cincinnati today without its murals. But all you have to do is go back a decade. That—2007—is when ArtWorks began its ambitious mural campaign with an idea to put brush to brick in each of Cincinnati’s neighborhoods and adjoining cities.
175 murals and a few buckets of paint later, the wildly successful campaign is well on its way to achieving that goal. The Downtown murals you know. The ones in Sayler Park, Hamilton, Silverton, College Hill, and Reading you might not. Nevertheless, they stand together as uplifting celebrations of culture, history, and the underrepresented among us.
ArtWorks announced its latest batch of murals just two months ago. Several are already finished; the rest will be in place by the end of the summer. Here’s the low down on all 12 of ‘em.
Cincinnati Paint by Numbers: FIONA
910 Race Street, Downtown
If you don’t already know about the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s most famous hippopotamus (seriously?), you will now. The mural resulted from a design competition and public vote in which more than 60 designs were submitted and 21,000 votes were cast. The winning artist, Lucie Rice, is a Cincinnati native who has decamped to Nashville.
9176 Winton Road, Springfield Township
Designed by artist and Springfield Resident Joe Castrucci, this mural will go on Brentwood Bowl. It celebrates nature and creation—and hopefully it’ll keep your ball out of the gutter.
New Lines: Bolivar Alley
Bolivar Alley, Pendleton
With the New Lines series, ArtWorks is partnering with Spring in Our Steps to celebrate the gorgeous nooks and crannies of Cincinnati's urban alleyways. Bolivar Alley represents the first installment of the series. As such, ArtWorks is commissioning five artists to create small murals along its brick walls. Artists include local muralist Derek Toebbe and Denver-based Jonathan Lamb.
The REFUGEE Project
2030 Fairfax Road, Evanston
A new Wellness Center is being constructed at Evanston’s Academy of World Languages, and there’s no better way to christen it than with a mural. That was ArtWorks appraisal, and they’ve done so with a colorful and expressive piece of abstract art that will be welcoming to patients and families. It was designed by Baltimore-based artists Jessie and Katey.
Avondale Heroes Mural
3371 Reading Road, Avondale
The first of several new Avondale murals, the Avondale Heroes Mural results from a City of Cincinnati Neighborhood Enhancement Program. Designed by Dayton artist James Pate, it will be located in an area of historically high crime, the intersection of Reading Road and Blair Street. By locating it there, ArtsWorks hopes to create positive momentum and community engagement in this neighborhood of unlimited potential.
3529 Reading Road, Avondale
Avondale Pride will include three murals designed for the new Avondale Town Center. The murals will be created by Avondale-based designer Cedric Michael Cox with community input, insights, and themes. When completed in the next few months, they will reflect the community identity of Avondale and its vision for the future.
2018 Cincinnati Legend: Mamie Smith
309 E 13th Street, Pendleton
Born in Cincinnati in the 1880’s, Mamie Smith went on to become the first African-American Blues recording artist. The precursor and influence to the likes of Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday, now at last she’s being celebrated with her own mural, designed by Buffalo-based artist Julia Bottoms.
It’s Your Thing
311 E 13th Street, Pendleton
Standing adjacent to Mamie Smith’s mural in Pendleton, this mural comes from Cincinnati native Jonathan Lamb. Borrowing the name of a funky 1969 jam by Cincinnati’s Isley Brothers, It’s Your Thing is a celebration of individuality, creation, and the hustlin' spirit of the Queen City.
The Early Bird
1715 Republic Street, OTR
For this mural, ArtWorks is partnering with Saturday Hoops, a volunteer-run program of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative that engages at-risk youth by offering mentorships, physical activity, and healthy meals. The uplifting mural comes courtesy of Nashville-based muralist Bongang. It’s a vibrant tribute to the resilience of these kids.
All in This Story Together
6906 Plainfield Road, Silverton
With All in This Story Together, Silverton is getting a gateway marker for the village. It celebrates the Silverton-based organization Women Writing for Change, which provides a safe environment for individuals to develop writing skills and cultivate creativity. Cincinnati Artist Erin Baker designed the mural.
Building Inclusive Communities: A Mural Project of Visionaries + Voices
3056 Madison Road, Oakley
This new mural is designed to bring a burgeoning neighborhood together through the creative collaboration between ArtWorks and V+V, whose mission is to build communities through art. The mural will be designed by a V+V artist and will adorn the east-facing facade of Deeper Roots on Madison Road.
1200 Vine Street, OTR
This year marks the 125th anniversary of the creation of the Women’s Art Club of Cincinnati, the oldest women’s art club in the country, and ArtWorks has a mural to celebrate the occasion. Local muralist Tina Westerkamp created the design, which will reside in the Gateway District of Over-The-Rhine.