Cincinnati’s ‘Urban Walls’ movement looked to spark thoughtful design

Cincinnati, like Philadelphia, is known for its impressive collection of murals throughout the city. Today the effort is primarily led by ArtWorks who looks to connect youth with professional artists, but at one point local business leaders led a progressive initiative to engage graphic designers to do the work.

The two individuals who really spearheaded the effort were Carl Solway and Jack Boulton, and they selected ten designers to do unique murals on ten different walls throughout downtown Cincinnati. The idea was to create thoughtful designs for urban walls that had otherwise been forgotten.

One of the murals is still visible today along the south side of Seventh Street, between Vine and Race. The problem, the designer noted, was that he did not think about motorists heading west to east, and not east to west, and therefore left his mural unseen by only those on the street itself.

A series of well-produced videos highlights the urban walls movement that took place throughout downtown Cincinnati in the 1970s. This is the video for the urban wall mural, entitled Allegro, still present along Seventh Street.

  • Jacob Mecklenborg

    These murals were celebratory and unpretentious, unlike the Shepard Fairy self-promotional murals.