Arts & Entertainment News

Mural hunting in Cincinnati

I can assure you that this will be the last of the Shepard Fairey-related content on UrbanCincy for some time. You went to the opening night party, you read the controversial review, and now you can plot out your mural hunting adventure of Fairey’s murals around town.

Leading up to his first museum retrospective, Fairey installed seven murals around town (2 in Northside, 2 Downtown, 2 in Over-the-Rhine, and 1 in Pendleton) that reflect some of his work that can be seen inside the walls of the Contemporary Arts Center. These murals vary in size, meaning and placement, and until now, those looking to find the murals were largely on a hunt trying to find the mysteriously placed seven murals.

The mural journey is a fun way to spend an afternoon without spending a single cent (transportation costs aside). And while the mural locations may no longer be a mystery, it is still fun to try to find the little messages left behind by the Fairey crew near each of their designated mural locations.

Beyond the murals themselves it is interesting to see how they react with the surrounding urban environment. The E. 14th Street mural is placed next to graffiti in the adjacent alley which presents an interesting dichotomy. The mural on the side of Arnold’s Bar & Grill, on the other hand, peeks around the corner of the alley onto 8th Street as if it’s trying to get your attention and draw you nearer for its message.

Also of interest is how people react to the often provocative murals. Many seem to be going mural hunting and specifically seeking out the art installations, while others are simply passing by and are surprised by the unexpected display. Most stop and pause, others look more closely, but all seem to be interested in the new element interjected into their neighborhood, place of work, or destination. And in the end no matter what you think about Fairey or his work, isn’t this what we look for in art?

By Randy A. Simes

Randy is an award-winning urban planner who founded UrbanCincy in May 2007. He grew up on Cincinnati’s west side in Covedale, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s nationally acclaimed School of Planning in June 2009. In addition to maintaining ownership and serving as the managing editor for UrbanCincy, Randy has worked professionally as a planning consultant throughout the United States, Korea and the Middle East. After brief stints in Atlanta and Chicago, he currently lives in the Daechi neighborhood of Seoul’s Gangnam district.