On Toys for Kids

Can you name of these toy characters? Better yet did you have any of them or purchase any of these for kids?

I’m confident you identified the Star Wars characters as C-3PO, R2D2, Yoda, and the X-Wing fighter flown by the Rebel Alliance. Did you get Strawberry Shortcake holding the Spirograph wheel and the bear she made from Play-Doh? Cheer Bear (one of the original Care Bears)? Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (from Ghostbusters) on Batman’s back?

Surely you got Mr. Potato Head! But, did you recognize The Purple Pieman feeding a pie from the Easy Bake Oven to the T-Rex from Jurassic Park? The fury animal from the Littlest Pet Shop in the Ghostbusters’ vehicle? The character and car from M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand)?

This ArtWorks mural – Cincinnati’s Toy Heritage – located at 23 West Court Street in downtown Cincinnati – is a tribute to Kenner Toys – a Cincinnati-based company formed in 1947.

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ArtWorks is a unique non-profit organization that employs and trains local youth to create art in the community. To date, ArtWorks is responsible for over 100 murals throughout Cincinnati – which many are in the main part of the city.

This post is for Resa, Toronto’s lady of style who also captures street art in Toronto and Winnipeg as a hobby. Resa recently declared March as Kid’s Month on her blog.

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On a Kid’s Daydream

Every kid dreams of a party like this …

. .. with ice cream

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… and cake

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… and cookies

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… friends and happiness

… and our imaginary friends too

All for this young lady

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… It’s a good day for her.

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Ice Cream Daydream is a vibrant mural created by ArtWorks at 33 East 12th Street in Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine district. This mural is full of imagination, fun and joy.

ArtWorks is a unique non-profit organization that employs and trains local youth to create art in the community. To date, ArtWorks is responsible for over 100 murals throughout Cincinnati – which many are in the main part of the city.

This post is for Resa, Toronto’s lady of style who also captures street art in Toronto and Winnipeg as a hobby. Resa recently declared March as Kid’s Month on her blog – so this is the first of my two posts for her celebration.

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On a Cosmetic Nude

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ArtWorks is responsible for adding over 100 murals throughout Cincinnati – of which many are in the main part of the city. Thanks to Resa posting about street art in Toronto and Winnipeg, she has heightened my interest in these wonderful works of outdoor art that is in my city.

The one mural featured in this post first caught my attention several years ago when it I first saw the nearly completed version that was covered by scaffolding. Because I didn’t know much about why this mural was selected, its color and unique style caught my eye.

ArtWorks selected this design to be part of its Cincinnati Masters series – a collection of murals dedicated to the work of Cincinnati artists. Maybe in the future I’ll put them together into one post. To be honest, I didn’t know this artist – then again, I don’t claim to be knowledgeable about art. So, I decided to do this post in the style of a famous television game show – Jeopardy!

Answer: Born in Cincinnati, lived 1931-2004, graduated from the University of Cincinnati, and the Art Academy of Cincinnati

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Answer: He moved to New York City where cartoon strips were his initial success, but after 5 years he decided to pursue painting

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Answer: The Great American Nude series brought him fame in the art world
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Answer: He became well-known for his American Pop Art, and a contemporary to Andy Warhol
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Answer: He also developed his own techniques of using metals in metal-work sculptures; such as The Dropped Bra
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Answer: His Still Life is another series – Still Life #60 is a collection of things a woman will wear – causing some to suggest these object take the place of a nude while suggesting her presence.
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Answer: His mural is located at 811 Main Street in downtown Cincinnati

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Question: Who was Tom Wesselmann?

Although this mural caught my attention, I’ve never heard of Tom Wesselmann … at least now I know. Thanks ArtWorks!

To see more posts about the ArtWorks murals in Cincinnati, click here. Meanwhile, here’s a short video featuring Wesselmann’s work … and don’t forget to visit Resa to see the urban art she has captured.

 

On Ordinary Citizens

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Here’s for another set of murals in the city. Because the prior post about the murals featured notable Cincinnatians, this post features ordinary people. As with the other murals in this series, ArtWorks made these possible.
Canal at Vine Street Circa 1900
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Settled on the Ohio River, water has always been important to Cincinnati. The Miami and Erie Canal (completed in 1827) ran through the city to link with a network of canals in Ohio. This canal also separated a neighborhood from downtown. The canal was important to businesses, thus many workers. The mural depicts workers on a canal boat on this canal.

By 1906, the canal wasn’t used much and it became a health hazard. Although Central Parkway occupies the same space today as the canal did, this mural along the canal route serves as a reminder of its importance during a different time.

Canal at Vine Street Circa 1900 is located at 101 W Central Parkway

The Cobbler’s Apprentice Plays Ball
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A Cincinnati treasure served as an inspiration for this mural. Frank Duveneck (1849-1910) was not only a Cincinnatian, but he was a well-known figure and portrait painter in his time. In The Cobbler’s Apprentice (which is one display at the Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati, Duveneck painted a boy holding a large basket of vegetables to his right side and a cigar in his left hand – to which he responds by the smoke. (Click to see the original)

This mural is a parody of the original because a baseball bat has replaced the basket and the cigar. One can find this mural very close to the Great American Ball Park (home of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team).

The Cobbler’s Apprentice Plays Ball is located at 120 East Freedom Way.

What’s Happening Downtown
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In the days before air conditioning, people kept their windows open. Then again (and whether they liked it or not), they heard much of the activity in the surrounding area

This mural is about the vibrancy in a city community depicting people coming to their window to see what’s happening.

What’s Happening Downtown is located at 1005 Walnut St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

The Face of the Arts

One-story buildings aren’t very common in the city. As a matter of fact, as I approached and past this building, I totally missed what it offered … and I wonder how many other times I walked by. But, I finally spotted it from a block away, so I returned to discover more.

ArtWorks is responsible for over 100 murals throughout the city in the past 20 years. Interestingly, ArtWorks is a “non-profit organization that employs and trains local youth and talent to create art and community impact through three strategic programming areas: Public Art, including an extensive mural program; an art therapy division, ArtRx; and an entrepreneurial arm, Creative Enterprise.”

This mural displays the silhouettes of creative pursuits and portraits of those who painted this mural.

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The Face of the Arts is located at 1100 Race St, Cincinnati on the corner of Race and Central Parkway – (fittingly) directly across the street from the School for Creative and Performing Arts.
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Special thanks to blogger friend Resa in Toronto, Canada for getting me to take a close look at the wonderful murals on display in Cincinnati – so I invite you to visit Resa to see what she’s captured.
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Any favorites? To see other murals in my series, click here.

On Honoring Local Notables

DSC03343Thanks to blogger friend Resa in Toronto, Canada, I’ve taken notice of the wonderful murals on display in Cincinnati. ArtWorks, a non-profit organization founded in 1996, is leading the way with its creative vision, energy and focus on employing and training youth.

This post is about the murals that feature prominent Cincinnatians – some who you may know, and others you may not. By the end of summer, ArtWorks hope to have completed the mural of another local treasure – Rosemary Clooney. Meanwhile, enjoy this with the brief story that goes with each that I listed in a timeline. Let me know what you think of this collection.

Cincinnatus

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Cincinnati is named after Cincinnatus, a Roman leader and a model of Roman virtue. George Washington (America’s first president) is often compared to Cincinnatus. Whereas Washington quietly retired after serving his country, Cincinnatus retired to his farm after saving Rome.

Commissioned in 1983 and completed by Cincinnati artist Richard Hass, ArtWorks will be renovating Cincinnatus soon.

Cincinnatus is located at the corner of Central Parkway and Vine Street (downtown Cincinnati)
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Elizabeth Nourse
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This mural is a rendition of the self-portrait by Elizabeth Nourse (1859-1938), a Cincinnati native who went on to a successful art career in Paris. Known for her social realism style, Nourse became one of the few women in her time period to receive international recognition and she became the first American woman voted into the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.

Self Portrait, Elizabeth Nourse is located at 8th Street & Walnut Street (downtown Cincinnati)
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Samuel Hannaford

Image from ArtWorks Cincinnati

Samuel Hannaford )(1835-1911) was a Cincinnati architect. He designed over 300 buildings locally – including business buildings, theaters, churches, apartments, houses, and more. His most prominent landmarks include Music Hall, City Hall, Elsinore Tower (all in the mural), and Cincinnati Observatory.

The mural is a view from the window of his mind looking toward the visions of his creations.

Visit The Vision of Samuel Hannaford at 1308 Race St (Downtown in Over the Rhine)
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Henry the Strongman

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Henry Holtgrewe (1862-1917) was a German-born immigrant who settled in Cincinnati. Although he ran a saloon, much of his spare time were performing various feats of strength, many regarded the Cincinnati Strongman as the Strongest Man in the World. This mural salutes him and his feats, including lifting an entire baseball team with his back. The mural is located Cincinnati’s Over The Rhine neighborhood (just north of city center), which is where Henry Holtgrewe lived and worked.

The Cincinnati Strong Man: Henry Holtgrewe is at 1215 Vine Street (Downtown in Over The Rhine)
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Ezzard Charles

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Look at those eyes – the eyes of a boxing champion. Ezzard Charles (1921-1975) (the Cincinnati Cobra) was the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World (1949-1951). Besides naming a street for Charles (noted by an exit on I-75), this mural was the 100th completed by ArtWorks.

Ezzard Charles: The Cincinnati Cobra is at 1537 Republic Street, Cincinnati (Downtown in Over the Rhine)
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Two Jims in One
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That’s my name for this mural because it features two true Cininnatians. The face is Jim Tarbell, a local businessman, a former member of city council, a popular Cincinnati personality, and a proud Cincinnatian. In this salute, Jim Tarbell is dressed as Peanut Jim Shelton (1889-1982) a peanut salesman who dressed in his tux to sell peanuts before Reds games for 50 years. Peanut Jim once said, “They expect me there. People know me from all over the country. It’s strange how a black guy selling a bag of peanuts can get that much notoriety.”

Mr Tarbell Tips His Hat is at 1109 Vine Street (just south of Over the Rhine)
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Golden Muse
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The Golden Muse is not a real life Cincinnati, but actually a figurine from an 18th century clock at the local Taft Museum. In this mural, the muse is linked to the notes of famed American composer Aaron Copeland, who wrote Fanfare for the Common Man for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, which debuted this well-known composition at Music Hall in 1942.

The Golden Muse is at 28 West 13th Street (Downtown in Over The Rhine)

Do you have a favorite? To see other murals in my series, click here.

On the Singers of Cincinnati

When locals think of a title of this blog post, people like Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney, Andy Williams, and Nick Lachey come to mind. So do groups such as the Isley Brothers, The Lemon Pipers, Blessid Union of Souls, Pure Prairie League, Walk the Moon, and 98 Degrees. We old timers can add Roy Rogers, Homer & Jethro, and Grandpa Jones to the list.

But this post isn’t about any of the above. If anyone influenced this post, it’s Resa – the Canadian lady in Toronto who features murals on her blog (Graffiti Lux and Murals).  After all, because of Resa, I notice murals now more than I ever did.

Special thanks to Art Works: “an award-winning non-profit organization that employs and trains local youth and talent to create art and community impact through three strategic programming areas: Public Art, including an extensive mural program; an art therapy division, ArtRx; and an entrepreneurial arm, Creative Enterprise.” (from their website)

FYI: ArtWorks recently announced that local icon Rosemary Clooney (a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner) will be honored with her own mural, which is to start this summer.

Mr. Dynamite @ 1437 Main Street
Yep, that’s The King of Soul. No, James Brown wasn’t born in Cincinnati nor did he live here, but many of his early hits were produced at Cincinnati-Based King Records.

Singers Brown

The Singing Mural @ 1223 Central Parkway
This mural is a celebration of the arts and a salute to Cincinnati’s cultural legacy with the arts. Fittingly located near Music Hall, the mural features locals, cultural icons, and classic characters. Do you recognize anyone? (The list of people is below the last image.) What song do you think they are singing?

Singers 1

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Singers 4

Singers Whole

Top row, left to right: Cincinnati arts patron Patricia Corbett, Sesame Street’s Grover, the Phantom from Phantom of the Opera, rock artist Elton John, opera singer Beverly Sills, a euphonium player to represent Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, jazz singer Cab Calloway, the lead role from opera Madame Butterfly, and legendary composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

Bottom row, left to right: Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker to represent Cincinnati Ballet, opera singer Leontyne Price as lead role in opera Aida, beloved Cincinnati Pops conductor Maestro Erich Kunzel, Cincinnati Police Officer Al Staples, PBS icon Mr. Rogers; the lead role from opera Pagliacci, Cincinnati broadcasting legend Ruth Lyons, a local youth, and the Cincinnati Reds’ own Mr. Redlegs.

On a Martha

Sorry … not Martha Stewart, Martha Graham, Martha White, or Martha Raye. Nope … not Martha Reeves, Martha Plimpton, Martha Quinn, Martha Raddatz, Martha from the Bible. Not even Martha in another language as Marta, Martina, Martine, Martella, Maruska, Marte, or even just simply Marti. I know some are guessing Martha Washington, wife of the first US President – na-baby-na … but this Martha is named the First Lady.

Martha literally means lady, so yes, the name fits. Martha has a royal significance in Scandinavia, so royalty is a suitable adjective, but this Martha isn’t Scandinavian and possibly never visited that beautiful part of the world.

There isn’t consensus on or where Martha was born, but there is no doubt about when and where she died .. nor her significance. This post is about Martha – Ectopistes migratorius – a passenger pigeon.

Living in enormous colonies, passenger pigeons were the most common bird found in the US. Their migratory flocks could darken a sky, causing famous bird painter James Audubon wrote in 1813,

I observed the Pigeons flying from north-east to south-west, in greater numbers than I thought I had ever seen them before, and feeling an inclination to count the flocks that might pass within the reach of my eye in one hour, I dismounted, seated myself on an eminence, and began to mark with my pencil, making a dot for every flock that passed. In a short time finding the task which I had undertaken impracticable, as the birds pouted in   countless multitudes, I rose, and counting the dots then put down, found that 163 had been made in twenty-one minutes. I travelled on, and still met more the farther I proceeded. The air was literally filled with Pigeons; the light of noon-day was obscured as by an eclipse, the dung fell in spots, not unlike melting flakes of snow; and the continued buzz of wings had a tendency to lull my senses to repose. The Pigeons were still passing in undiminished numbers, and continued to do so for three days in succession.

Overhunting, habitat loss, and possibly diseases sharply decreased their population. By mid-1910, Martha was the only remain of her species – and living at the Cincinnati Zoo. At 1:00 pm on September 1, 1914, Martha died. Shortly thereafter, zoo workers packed her in a 300 pound (140 kg) block of ice for transportation to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.

Enter my ties to Martha. Although, I’ve seen her memorials on numerous occasions at the Cincinnati Zoo and Cincinnati Museum Center, in 2014 I posted this image of a mural in downtown Cincinnati. The mural is a project by ArtWorks, a non-profit organization with one aspect being providing murals as public art. (For the interested, here’s a short video about ArtWorks)

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Later, I discovered that the mural is based on a painting by a famous wildlife artist, John Ruthven. His style is not only similar to John Audubon’s, Ruthven’s world has also traveled the globe and is found in numerous museums. Currently at the age of 91, he still resides in the Cincinnati area. In 2013, Ruthven completed an acrylic painting – Martha: The Last Passenger Pigeon.

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In the summer 2013, ArtsWork transformed Ruthven’s painting into a very large mural. Enjoy the time-lapse as Martha flies again.