Playful and Adorable Street Murals in Cincinnati

I love it when a city claims its identity and celebrates its past with street art and oversized street murals for the public. Numerous communities have adopted this tactic for enlivening their city streets, but nobody does street art and murals like Cincinnati Ohio.

 

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Adorable Street Murals in Cincinnati

Anyone who has ever played with a Mr. Potato Head or an EasyBake Oven deserves a visit to Cincinnati. If a snuggly Care Bear or a talking Yoda were in your toy chest, you should offer a hearty “thank you” to Cincinnati. Or at least pull in to the parking lot at 22 W. Court Street in downtown Cinci and look up. That’s where you will find this:

Toy Heritage street mural in Cincinnati

The mural is called Cincinnati Toy Heritage. For more than 50 years, Kenner Toys operated in Cincinnati creating such great collectibles as R2D2, Yoda and all of the Star Wars toys. But they also made Strawberry Shortcake and the Pillsbury Dough Boy and Play Doh.

 

             

 

The massive mural on Court Street, designed by Jonathon Queen, pays tribute to Kenner’s history in Cincinnati. But Toy Heritage is just one of nearly 140 interesting and detailed murals that brighten otherwise boring blank walls of these city streets.

They are a product of a non-profit organization called Art Works founded in 1996 to provide employment and training to local kids. The mural program didn’t start until 2007, but take a look at how they’ve brightened things up.

Henry the Strongman Street Mural in Cincinnati

Street murals in Cincinnati

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You find yourself walking along and looking at these images, wondering who they are and what they contributed to the city. Then you start asking questions or reading the plaques and brochures, and all of a sudden, you are more connected to this community.

A Walking Tour of Street Murals in Cincinnati

Colorful street mural in Cincinnati OhioEach one tells a story of Cincinnati and the people that have made it such an interesting, diverse city. I did a walking tour that covered just a handful of these murals with an articulate 19 year old named Julian Gregory. He helped with this and many other projects that have improved his city and helped him focus his career goals and life. You can pick up a map of the murals and other public art created by Art Works at their office at 20 E. Central Parkway.

Other than the Kenner Toys mural, I think my favorite is this one at a dog park at 6100 Kellogg Road. Each puppy featured here is a real dog that lives and plays in the neighborhood. How adorable is that!

Mural at Cincinnati Dog Park

The Pigeon Mural in CincinnatiI also like this big mural on 8th Street in Cincinnati designed by John Ruthven. It tells the story of Martha, the last of a now extinct bird species called the passenger pigeon.

Passenger pigeons were once the most numerous bird species in North America. But through hunting and disruption of their nesting areas, the passenger pigeon is now extinct. The last was was Martha, who lived out her species final days in the Cincinnati Zoo.

Isn’t it great how art can teach us things?

Cincinnati’s beautiful murals have spilled across the Ohio River into Kentucky, and continue to be developed on both sides of the river. That’s why a fresh trip to Cincinnati should be on your calendar every year or two. You never know what you might learn walking these streets.

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