Pillars of Cincinnati: ArtWorks Unveils New Mural Series Dedicated to Avondale's Social Justice Leaders

Pillars of Cincinnati recognizes important leaders and treasured community heroes in Avondale’s history.

click to enlarge A collage of the Pillars of Cincinnati mural series - Photo: Provided by ArtWorks
Photo: Provided by ArtWorks
A collage of the Pillars of Cincinnati mural series

A new series of murals from ArtWorks and the Avondale Development Corporation that celebrates those who fought for civil rights can now be seen in Avondale.

The mural series, Pillars of Cincinnati, recognizes important leaders and treasured community heroes in Avondale’s history, including Fred Shuttlesworth, Theodore Berry, Marjorie B. Parham, Fanny Graff and Artie and Annie Matthews. ArtWorks partnered with Urbanist Media, a community preservation cooperative to identify these social justice leaders and choose specific locations for each mural.

The murals’ locations create a walking trail to inspire connectedness between Avondale’s residents and its institutions. They were designed by Nytaya Babbitt, ArtWorks’ lead teaching artist, and painted by teaching artist Taylor Helms and six teen and young adult apprentices. Most apprentices were also from Avondale, says ArtWorks.

“It was an honor for ArtWorks to create this meaningful tribute within Avondale,” Colleen Houston, ArtWorks CEO and artistic director, said in a press release. “We hope the trail becomes a point of pride and the murals, a focal point in the community. This project will inspire more people to learn about the accomplishments and legacy of these community leaders we remember.”

The murals will be dedicated at a public celebration on Thursday, May 18 from 2-4 p.m. at the Hirsch Recreation Center. Registration is requested, but not required. The event is free and will feature music from Cincinnati’s women’s choir MUSE, as well as art-making and light refreshments. You can also take part in the optional walking tour of several of the mural sites starting at 3 p.m.

Hirsch Recreation Center, 3630 Reading Road, Avondale. More information on ArtWorks: artworkscincinnati.org.

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