Scope, Confuse, Contort: Mapping the Downtown Mural Scene

How to capture the most powerfully striking image while standing in the middle of a parking lot, street, or sidewalk:

  • Scope out your prime photo-taking positing before claiming your sometimes socially awkward location
  • Willingness to receive confused looks and stares from strangers
  • Ability to contort your body for dramatic shots

What’s Happening Downtown

1005 Walnut Street

I had mapped out my route so I knew exactly which murals I would be photographing and in what order, but immediately I was derailed from that plan when I first spotted this mural and found myself standing in the middle of a parking lot. I quickly found that these painted people were not going to be the only ones who would be directing stares at me as the day continued…

Fresh Harvest

1005 Walnut Street

On an adjacent wall(in partnership with the Kroger Co.)plump vegetables and fruits covered their urban canvas. Making an about-turn I sat on the pavement so I could get both the mural and the perpendicularly placed Kroger headquarters towering above.                                       

Mr. Tarbell Tips His Hat

1109 Vine Street

Just across the street (thanks to Gateway Merchants Group) was another ArtWorks mural.  However, I was not quite close enough to capture the “larger than life” Cincinnati icon.  So I hopped back in my car to make a loop around the Cincinnati traffic and pull up alongside the curb.  Again risking my social image for this perfect shot of Mr. Tarbell and his tipped top hat.

The Singing Mural

1223 Central Parkway

After stopping for lunch I made my way to the Singing Mural, which pays tribute to the Queen City’s rich arts and cultural legacy. In partnership with Cincinnati Opera and CET these “loud mouths” are quite the treat in person and unfortunately my photos just cannot do them justice.

Energy and Grace

16 East 12th Street

Swinging back into OTR, this delicately powerful mural transforms one of Kim Krause’s paintings, a beloved professor at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.  ArtWorks in partnership with the Art Academy celebrates the commitment to reviving this historic community. This one was an easy find and an easy shot, just find yourself a spot in the parking lot below.

Ice Cream Daydream

33 East 12th Street

Just around the block, the whimsical nature of OTR continues to shine through as well as its development as a Cincinnati district thanks to Eden Floral Boutique. Contortion was extremely necessary to capture the “diamond sun which rains strawberries on a dessert-filled garden,” as I bent myself around cars and bushes.  

No Place Like Home

27 West 12th Street

This mural (in partnership with Tender Mercies) was located in the upper corner of this brick building. I nearly missed it!  Easily escaping my line of sight and also tricky to capture due to the road construction on 12th Street, it was definitely worth the effort.  This mural calls attention to items that many may take for granted but that are important to the less fortunate that experience homelessness and live in impoverished conditions in the Cincinnati area.

The Golden Muse

28 West 13th Street

If you need a break from all of the sidewalk hopping and awkward bending, I suggest heading over to Washington Park where you can see this golden beauty.   Here you can also take a trip to the lou, grab a drink of water or splash in it if you prefer, and watch your furry friends play around in the dog park.

Martha, The Last Passenger Pigeon (above), 15 East 8th Street

Migration of Tradition (below), 1920 Race Street

Feeling “flighty,” I pinpointed my two final destinations making a stop through downtown to see Martha and then looped back through OTR to capture Rookwood Pottery’s signature icon.


5 Things You Didn’t Know About CCAC

Looking for a new way to spend a beautiful summer night outdoors? This summer is full of Wednesdays on the Green at Clifton Cultural Arts Center. Enjoy a new genre of music every Wednesday along with the Cincinnati community for FREE! Be sure to look out for a performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream to conclude the season in August.

Check out some really cool things you may not have know about CCAC, and get excited for their upcoming events!

  1. Clifton Cultural Arts Center (CCAC) was originally built as the Clifton Public school (an elementary school).  During its tenure as such, actress Sarah Jessica Parker attended school here.
  2. When the original school building was built, it only had two restroom facilities, both of which were in the basement.
  3. For a brief period, the local jail was housed in the basement of the school.
  4. There are three Rookwood water fountains in the building. 
  5. The clock tower atop CCAC marks the geographic center of the Clifton neighborhood. 

If you are interested learning more about Wednesdays on the Green events, check out the full schedule at our website.

Things are gearing up at @knowtheatre right now for tonight’s kick off of the IF Cincy Improv Festival! Huge shoutout to our friends at @otrimprov for making this festival happen - and with all shows sold out! (Word on the street is there are still tix for workshops, but you better hurry!) #enjoythearts #ifcincy #improv #comedy #thisisotr #cincinnati