Transformative visual art event changes urban landscape, gathers Cincinnati community

Back when the temperatures were a bit warmer, and the sky a bit sunnier, more than 1,500 people gathered with ArtsWave on a six-block stretch of 12th Street in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. The residents, visitors, and workers alike worked together to create a half-mile long stretch of visual art.

Known as Paint the Street, the project gathered a diverse collection of people that painted the street according to chalk outlines drawn by local artists earlier that morning. Since the painting occurred on Sunday, September 26 much of the art has worn off, but those passing through the urban neighborhood today can still see remnants of the project months later.

UrbanCincy writer Jennifer Kessler participated in the event and published her photographs on the site shortly after it took place. While at Paint the Street Kessler noted that the sense of community and involvement was palpable and that the event was one that was truly inspiring for her.

“Being there in person, the highlight of the event was the enthusiasm and joy painting a mural on the street brought to participants and observers alike,” Kessler described. “The street was shut down to vehicle traffic for the day and crowds of Cincinnatians, old and young, black and white, walked slowly in the street taking in the colors and working together.”

The event also attracted a variety of street performers and artists from Xavier University, Walnut Hills High School, School for Creative & Performing Arts, Cincinnati Ballet, and Pones, Inc.

Those who were unable to participate or view the visual art production in its entirety are now able to view a time-lapse video, of the event, put together by Cincinnati-based Lightborne in partnership with Soapbox Cincinnati.

  • Mike

    “Since the painting occurred on Sunday, September 26 much of the art has worn off…”

    Yeah, you can find most of that as hard to get off paint chips on the bottom, wheel wells, and fenders of my car from having to drive over it to get to my apartment’s parking garage every day!

    I’m all for unique art and community events in OTR, but if they do this again I hope they at least pick a different street I’m not forced to drive on every day.

  • When I was at the university, we used to paint on the street as well, we always used chalks to make those paintings, there is wide enough range of colours to satisfy your concepts and every time we were about to get on with another session of painting, we waited for the forecast to be three or four days to the rain so it would wash away nicely. I like this project. Streets are much nicer when colourful.

  • Brad

    It might have been a nice project at the time, but now it just adds to a general sense of decay. The street painting has been an unsightly, faded mess much much longer than it was a beautiful mural. I hope they don’t do it again… ever.