We are making good progress on the Artworks mural in Covington, KY! The mural is a celebration of Kentucky’s rich natural history. My thesis work at the University of Cincinnati was largely about the connections between art, the natural world and the human hand. This mural project has been a great opportunity to continue those interests in a more straightforward way.
Artworks summer programs are thankfully designed not only to employ teens but to provide opportunities for enrichment. To prepare for the project and get everyone interested in the subjects of our mural I organized several field trips.
First, we made a trip to the beautifully redesigned Mary Ann Mongan Covington Library just across the street from the mural site at 502 Scott Blvd. I organized something of a scavenger hunt/learning rampage, encouraging the apprentices to explore a variety of topics including: the challenges of public art (as illustrated by the popular story of Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc), the life cycles and roles of viceroy butterflies and honeybees, and the mastodon bones unearthed at Big Bone Lick State Park in the beginning years of America. Also, what is a Dunkleosteus? I have always been interested in synthesizing a lot of information and making connections between seemingly disparate topics.
A couple days after the library trip we went to the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal to visit the natural history museum. We paid particularly close attention to the ice age exhibit, which is simply fantastic. Our mural includes a mastodon skeleton, an early American symbol of power and mystery and one of my favorite creatures! I also included a Brachiopod, the Kentucky state fossil. These fossils are millions of years old, from a time this area was covered in ocean. They should be a familiar sight, if you have ever looked closely at a river rock.
Since then it has been many days of sweating in the sun and drawing, painting, and having fun. I met the most amazing group of teenagers. It is kind of sad wrapping this project up these next couple weeks. Stay tuned for photos of the final result!