Street Art: Cincinnati

Cincinnati Street Art

We had a day to walk around Cincinnati, and we weren’t sure what to expect. We knew we wanted to see the riverfront along the Ohio River as well as Findlay Market. Those are highlights everyone mentions when they visit Queen City. As usual, we set off without much of a plan, but we were pleasantly surprised to stumble upon so many murals along our walk. After seeing the name Artworks on several pieces it became apparent that this city too had a program for these projects. We really enjoyed Philadelphia’s Mural Arts program when we were there. Artworks is a non-profit that has been around since 1996.  They employ and train local youth and talent, while in the process producing some amazing public art.  Of course there were many artists outside the program that had painted some amazing pieces as well.

History through Murals

Some murals were based on fictional characters, some on the history of Cincinnati.  We learned an interest tidbit from “Martha, The Last Passenger Pigeon.”  The Cincinnati Zoo was the home of the last Passenger Pigeon, Martha who died in 1914. The species is now sadly extinct.  These birds may have once been the most abundant bird on the planet, with an estimated population between 3 and 5 billion! Unfortunately, they inhabited an area that us humans wanted for ourselves.  These birds’ habitat was highly valuable to settlers of North America for crop cultivation.  Humans cleared the forests, which took away the birds’ main food source. The birds then moved onto the next easiest source, the crops being raised.  This sealed their fate because from then on they were viewed as pests and a threat to crop yields and were systematically exterminated.

Which mural speaks to you?

One of my favorites was the North Wall of the Know Theatre . . . in particular all the messages within the images: the cigarette pack that read “Coffin Nails” as the brand and the planter box that reads “Take a chance on happy and deal with sad later.”  Tamara enjoyed “Ice Cream Daydream” for its whimsical, very colorful depiction of desserts and fun characters with the blue fish being a standout. Click the images below for a larger view, and let us know your favorite in the comments!

About the author

A 30 something traveler with insatiable wanderlust. Veteran of 2 RTW trips now focusing on slow travel.