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StreetSpark picks mural designs

Hamilton, Ohio – The envelope please…

The winning designs for the 2023 edition of StreetSpark – Hamilton’s premiere public art program - are in.

Anissa Pulcheon and Madeline Tipton designed murals for walls at the Hamilton Lane Library and Bartels Heating and Cooling, respectively. Pulcheon begins work on her mural May 30; Jennifer Eickelberger leads the painting on Tipton’s design, which begins June 19.

“Each of the designers highlighted something endearing about the particular area,” said StreetSpark Program Manager Jennifer Acus-Smith. “I believe they will resonate as universally appealing designs, as well as sources of neighborhood pride.”

Pulcheon is an artist, organizer and musician from Cincinnati. Her design for the library – Stream of Conciousness - makes the Great Miami River a living character, a young girl with flowing water as hair and a large book open in her hands. Her shirt features German floral folk-art motifs to celebrate the region's heritage. Cloud-like vignettes emanate from the book and illustrate STEM concepts and careers like circuitry, entomology, botany, math, aerospace – a nod to the many astronauts Ohio produced - and engineering. The circuitry is the interior of a Yamaha synthesizer. The butterfly is an Eastern Black Swallowtail, one of the most common in Ohio. “Science and the arts are so connected, so I wanted to nod to that with this design,” Pulcheon said. “Drawing from the warm tones of the architecture, the color palette is soothing and nature inspired. A striking central focal point immediately draws people in, and they can find new details to enjoy each time they visit the library. I hope the river and her book inspire viewers to dive into the wonders of learning.”

Tipton runs The Tipton Creative, LLC, specializing in brand design, custom murals and sign painting. She created Bartels’ Butterflies with an eye toward change and inclusion.

“This metamorphosis mural honors the past and looks forward to the future,” she said. “As migrating creatures, monarch butterflies are a symbol of hope and transformation. There will be some reflecting of the past in the next year as Bartels celebrates its 50th anniversary. “The reds and blues in my color palette are a nod to Bartels Heating and Cooling. The Hamilton community will also be looking towards the future as the city is growing and transforming through art - as represented by the hands creating paper airplanes together - and welcoming new members migrating to be part of it.”

Acus-Smith presented the winning designs – chosen by a selection committee of local arts professionals, appreciators and building owners - to Hamilton City Council Wednesday, April 12.

In addition to the wall murals, artists Kiera Fisher, Michelle Furr and Sarah Hynfield will give a trio of utility boxes the StreetSpark touch.

Fisher, a Hamilton High School student, plans to turn back time on the corner of MLK and Hanover in the Riverview neighborhood.

This design is inspired by the train that runs right by this mural,” she said. “As adults we are annoyed by trains; they stop us and make us late. But as kids, we stare at them in wonder when they fly by. I wanted to bring back that sense of childhood wonder through this design.”

Furr, a multidisciplinary artist and teacher, made her design for the box at the corner of Hooven and Pleasant in Lindenwald a family affair. She will paint the site with her husband and two children.

“We have created a design (with) four unique stained-glass patterns that reflect craftsman, mission, prairie and art deco design elements,” Furr said. “These designs pay tribute to the architecture of many of the homes in the neighborhood and (the region’s) long history with stained-glass manufacturing and window production.”

Hynfield, a Miami University student graduating this year with a BFA in community art, drew on the nearby Great Miami River for her inspiration.

“This utility box design is a love letter to color and the joy it can inspire,” she said. “I really enjoyed creating this piece and hope that it might brighten the day of folks passing by.”

“These designs really showcase the best of what we want StreetSpark to be,” said Fitton Center Executive Director Ian MacKenzie-Thurley. “All five of these artists were incredibly thoughtful in their submissions.

“They really connected to specific elements of Hamilton - and to each of the selected neighborhoods in the city - and made their observations both personal and universal through their art. I can’t wait to see these murals come to life.”

Founded in 2016 in partnership between the Fitton Center, the City of Hamilton and the Hamilton Community Foundation, StreetSpark furthers the creative identity of the city through exciting murals and public art projects. The program creates engagement by producing high-quality art, providing opportunities for local artists and enhancing the visual appeal of the city.

Since that first summer in 2016, artists designed and painted 17 murals and 14 utility boxes in a variety of styles. See all the murals online here or download a map here to visit them in person.

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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