If you’re driving downtown on East Third Street between Webster and Keowee, you might decide you’re suddenly hungry for a big, leafy salad. Surrounded by images of colorful fruits and vegetables, you’ll be heading to your favorite produce store in no time. Of course, the theme for the mural you have spotted is large-scale fruits and vegetables due to the proximity to 2nd Street Market.
Lisa Helm of Garden Station; Jerri Stanard at K12 Gallery; and Carli and Hamilton Dixon of AttaGirl organized this new set of 16 street murals on the walls under and around the railroad overpass.
Here is a sampling of what you will see and the stories behind the works:
• “Apple of my Eye” by December Brewster of Dayton, a young artist who opened American Pi on St. Clair Street. The mural is not quite finished, as she is still in college.
“I think it’s so important to revitalize this area. I can see Dayton becoming a hot spot like it used to be, and I am more than honored to know that I am helping beautify it.”
• Untitled by Brent Beck of Cincinnati. Multi-colored ear of corn with skyline in distance. Beck used students from Smith School in Oakwood to help with this mural.
• “Veggie Man” by Ashley Doolin of Miamisburg. This young artist was inducted into the Developmental Disabilities Hall of Fame in 2011. She imagined a man made of fruits and vegetables. Very compelling artwork painted, for the most part, in a cool color palette.
“Being chosen not only created a first-time opportunity for her, but for the artists as well, because they got to help her bring her artwork alive in a mural form,” said Ruth Ann Kennedy, art coordinator at Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities Services. “This has been a thrilling experience for all of us.”
• Untitled garden scene by Mary Bohn of Springboro. Brightly hued ears of corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, and carrots dance inside Bohn’s jar of imagination. The cool greens and blues in the cucumbers nestle up against the spicy-hot orange-red of the carrots and apples.
• “Smashed Veggies” by Ron Rollins of Kettering. Put a bunch of fruits and vegetables in a Salad Spinner, and you’ll get the idea for Rollins’ work. The frenzied movement is surrounded by his signature pastel-drawn frame.
•“Okra” by Ronald D. Duckett, Sr. of Dayton. This colorful mural shows a slice of the plant as a flower, surrounded by a chef, a Madagascan woman and a farmer.
“I wanted to investigate the history of the plant, and found out it is indigenous to Madagascar,” stated Duckett. “This fruit has been in African and African-descendant cuisines for thousands of years, bringing people together and helping a young man like me understand a little more about my past.”
• Untitled by Amy Anderson of Kettering. This mural of a farm girl is out in the sun, and aptly so. Her hair is the color of sunshine as she gathers vegetables from her garden.
“This is my second Downtown Dayton mural; the first is located in the Garden Station,” said Anderson. “When I visit other cities, I love seeing how murals bring a neglected surface to life and energize the neighborhood.”
• Canal Boat Brand by Andy Bayham of Pencilbyte Illustrations. Blending history with modern graphic design, Bayham of Louisville, Ohio, created a wonderful image.
• Untitled by Chris Newman of Miamisburg. A jazzy mix of corn, peppers, radishes, carrots and squash on black. Newman has owned Cheeky Monkey Art for the past 16 years, and specializes in faux finishing and interior design. He won Miami Valley contractor of the Year in 2009 for bathroom design.
• “Tomatoes” by Mary-Anna Fricano Welch of Beavercreek. This was a great project for Welch, as she spends quite a bit of time in a nearby garden when she’s not working or teaching in her studio.