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Street Spark Returning

Hamilton, Ohio – Artists, start your imaginations.

StreetSpark announces a call for submissions to Hamilton’s premier public art program.

The 2023 incarnation of StreetSpark – its eighth consecutive year – will include a pair of wall murals and a trio of utility boxes.

“I think what’s exciting is you never know what’s going to be painted,” said StreetSpark program manager Jennifer Acus-Smith. “Sometimes we’re focusing on the main drag, sometimes one of the neighborhoods or a certain business. The variety of places we’ve been able to work has contributed to the variety of the work our artists have created.”

Lane Library (300 N. Third St. Hamilton, Ohio 45011) houses one of the new mural spaces – a 45x22.5-foot wall encompassing more than 1,000 square feet on the newer addition of the building facing the parking lot. The other location is at Bartel’s Heating and Cooling (929 Main St. Hamilton, Ohio 45013), a 25-foot-wide wall covering almost 240 square feet near the entrance to the west-side business district.

Utility boxes to be painted stand at the corners of B Street & Rhea, Pleasant & Hooven and Martin Luther King & Central Avenue.

Artists interested in wall murals need to complete a request for qualifications – including resume, examples of past work and design sketches - by Jan. 4, 2023. Artists interested in working on utility boxes must complete a request for proposals – including finished designs - by Feb. 5, 2023.

All application materials are available online here.

The design selection committee – a panel including funders, previous StreetSpark artists, building owners and art enthusiasts – picks semifinalists from among the mural submissions. Artists will be notified of semifinal status by Jan. 27; semifinalists then submit their designs by Feb. 17.

The committee selects winning designs for both utility boxes and from among mural semifinalists in late March or early April. Painting takes place at a summer date to be determined.

“It’s important to note that we pay all of the artists who reach the semifinals in the murals,” Acus-Smith said. “And – of course – we pay the artists who have the winning designs and do the work on the boxes, as well as the murals.”

StreetSpark hosts a virtual Q&A session at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14 to answer any questions artists may have about the process.

Acus-Smith said the call to artists is an important, exciting part of the StreetSpark process.

“I love to see all the different designs,” she said. “The majority of the people really respond to the space they’re working with and it’s exciting to see how different artists interpret the call.

“It’s great to see the range of artists who apply, too. We get people who are really well established and we get people who are right out of school. Or maybe even still in school. It’s a great variety in part – I think – because we offer a great variety of opportunities for the artists.

“The utility boxes are intended more for the emerging artists, or maybe an artist group. That gives us some room for somebody who maybe doesn’t have that stacked resume or who hasn’t worked on the scale a wall mural demands.

StreetSpark artists have created 17 large-scale wall murals and decorated 14 utility boxes in and around over its previous seven incarnations. In addition, Pioneers - a quartet of murals from 2022’s ElectriCITY event - recently received a permanent home at Wilson Middle School.

StreetSpark artists also designed the artwork for several Butler County Regional Transit Authority buses. Three more are in the process of being wrapped and will hit the streets at the end of the year or in early 2023.

Originated in 2016 as a partnership between the Fitton Center and the City of Hamilton, 2022 marked StreetSpark’s seventh year transforming a variety of public spaces through murals. Funding for the project comes from the City of Hamilton and the Hamilton Community Foundation.

The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Avenue on the Riverfront in downtown Hamilton, Ohio.

Building Community Excellence through the Arts and Culture

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