Interview and story by StreetSpark Program intern, Sarah Hynfield
Jamie Schorsch is the designer and lead artist for “Cultivating Community” a brilliantly-colored floral mural on the side of the Telhio building at 601 Park Avenue. This mural actually wraps around the corner of the building, and Schorsch seamlessly fitted her design to these unusual dimensions while including an incredible level of detail and meaning. Each side of the mural features a single hand, both of which come together at the building’s corner to form cupped palms. Surrounding them are enormous flowers which, according to Schorsch “create a towering, lost-in-a-floral-garden effect” in addition to engaging the large wall space.
Schorsch also incorporated a remarkable level of symbolism into the piece: “The expansive field serves as a historical nod to the landscape of the area as it would have existed when Native American groups occupied the site around Fort Hamilton. Tiger Lilies, which are often associated with pride, confidence, wealth, and positivity, and Irises, which represent wisdom, hope, and trust, frame the image. The bees serve as an emblem of abundance, persistence, industry, within the community. Finally, the imagery of the beans embedded amongst the flowers calls to mind additional ideas of growth tied to fairy tale imagery and folklore. Overall, the message that Schorsch hopes to communicate with “Cultivating Community” is one of tranquility, peace, and prosperity through a whimsical and playful design.”
Schorsch has really enjoyed both designing and leading the rollout of this project! There are some huge differences between the role of designer—which involves a lot of researching, brainstorming, and sketching ideas—and the role of lead painter, which requires on-the-spot decisions about scaling, color mixing, and more. “I really love the design process for its ability to inform me about a location and its history and the creative play that happens in considering color palettes, style, and composition. Conversely, working as a painter is a very physical process. Something that is maybe an inch big in the original design may now be 4 feet, so using your whole body to move with creating a line, or applying a color, feels very different than just moving your hand when rendering. I’d have to say I enjoy both roles equally because they are so different.”
"As in any leadership role, you need to be able to effectively communicate your goals, engage the team in troubleshooting, and know how to ensure that the design is being executed as planned. Trusting the supporting artists to bring their own strong skill set and creative approach to the project is important as well. I’m very grateful for my team on ‘Cultivating Community’ and enjoyed working alongside two very talented young women, Kinsey Downs and Taylor Helms.”
In addition to her mural work with StreetSpark, Schorsch often creates murals with her students at Oak Hills High School. “For these opportunities, we collaborate throughout the entire mural design and creation process. In creating designs for murals, I get to guide my students both in walking them through the steps for creating a design and engaging them in critique.”
"Cultivating Community" is located on the corner of Telhio Credit Union at 601 Park Avenue in Hamilton.