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
Nourse

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

singers 2

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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 Few Murals

You may recall two past posts (this one and that one) about attending this year’s Opening Day festivities in the city. As I walked many miles, certain sights reminded me of Resa – a Canadian photographer who uses her blog to share the graffiti art and murals she finds in cities. (If you visit her blog, tell her I sent you.)

Granted, on this day I wasn’t prowling Cincinnati’s city center looking for outdoor murals, but because I thought of Resa each time I stumbled across a mural, I knew a post was in the making. Enjoy some of the murals I captured on this day. Which is your favorite?

 

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On North American Europe

I imagine a few long-time readers where wondering my whereabouts during my blogging break – so, here’s the scoop.

Quebec City may be the only city in North America that has a strong European ambiance. French is the main language. People look French and dress in European style – and the city has a distinct European presence in its architecture. Have you ever been there? For us, it was worth a second trip!

With its lower town along the waters of the St. Lawrence River, the walled upper town sitting on the bluffs, then to the modern city outside the wall, Quebec City is extraordinarily charming. History, art, boutiques, cafés, and more await visitors …. and walkers are in for a wonderful treat. We walked many miles, so here are a few pics. Enjoy, and do you have any favorites?

Chateau Frontenac (a Fairmont hotel) appears as a crown as it sits high atop the bluffs

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The boardwalk leads visitors toward the Citadel and the Plains of Abraham

Boardwalk

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Lower Town is bustling with tourists and old buildings

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Two Lower Town murals

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Outside the wall, walking Rue St. Jean gave us a wonderful street for the locals which enters the old city gate
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We enjoyed the fountain near the train station
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The lit crown of Chateau Frontenac … Good night

Nighttime.

Our vacations continues here.

On POWs in America

We baby boomers grew up in a time when many televised movies were westerns or World War II films. I also loved Hogan Heroes, the television series about allied POWs who were operating an espionage unit within Stalag 13, a POW camp run by bumbling Germans. Yet, it was not until 2010 that I learned that the allies had POW camps here in America.

Although over 400,000 WWII POWs were in America. The camps were small and scattered across the country. Last year, I had the opportunity to visit Wright-Patterson AFB near Dayton, and that is where I first learned about not only all the German POWs, but also the ones held at what was then known as Wright Field.

These prisoners worked on the base in base mess halls and warehouses, as well as maintaining the grounds. Apparently, since some of them had artistic abilities, they painted several murals on mess hall walls depicting German folklore. Evidence indicates that the German POWs painted three murals, yet only one remains today – standing quietly in an unsuspecting building as a part of the base’s history. I’m glad I got to see them, otherwise I may have never known about WWII POWs in America – even those not all that far away.