This new ArtWorks mural is located in Over-the-Rhine at 27 West 12th St. between Race and Republic Sts. It was painted on the side of a Tender Mercies building by a group of teen apprentices led by local artist Kenton Brett.
Previously, there was a ghost sign on this wall, advertising the American Luggage Co. — leather goods, fibre cases, trunks, luggage, sample cases.
Early this summer, I received a panicked email from a neighbor and checked out the wall for myself, immediately realizing that this scaffolding must be a mural-in-progress:
Indeed. ArtWorks and Tender Mercies are both fantastic Cincinnati organizations, but I’m not really on board with this mural. That is, it’s nice. It’s fine. It visually represents some of the support and services that address homelessness and its causes.
I hate criticizing this kind of feel-good work, or any public art for that matter, especially right in my own neighborhood. But this exists at the expense of a piece of OTR history that’s now gone forever.
Why cover up the ghost sign? It was in an odd location high up on a wall, not visible from a distance. Now we have a low-visibility mural in its place. Why not paint something lower on the same wall? Instead of a mural, why not commission a custom-fabricated fence or sidewalk planters that address the same visual themes?