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!