Grand funk railroad: Massive music mural coming to downtown Dayton

A 21-panel mural will transform a bland railway overpass near the Oregon District into a work of funky art.

Dayton’s role in the funk music movement will be celebrated with a series of paintings and designs along a concrete wall that supports a rail line on Stone Street, just south of the Neon movie theater.

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The estimated $65,000 art project will liven up a blase part of the urban landscape while colorfully connecting some of downtown’s destinations, including the Oregon District, the Convention Center and the upcoming Levitt Pavilion Dayton.

“We’re trying to create that entertainment district from the Oregon to the Levitt, and this seemed like a perfect marriage,” said Brittini Long, community engagement coordinator with Montgomery County Juvenile Court.

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About nine panels will feature fine art created by local artist Morris T. Howard, with homages to some Dayton funk band. This includes Faze-O, Heatwave, Lakeside, the Ohio Players, Slave, Sun and Zapp and Roger Troutman.

Other murals will be graphic artwork offering bright, bold and psychedelic designs and patterns, Long said.

Howard will paint some of the murals, but other funds are being sought to bring other artists on board to help with the project, she said.

Youth in the HAALO program will help paint the mural over the summer, with a goal of unveiling the artwork in early September. About 10 youth each weekday during the summer will work on the project.

The project is expected to cost about $25 per square foot, but the paint has been donated by Sherwin-Williams and there are in-kind contributions and donations, including Long’s salary, which is paid for by juvenile court.

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About $4,000 for the mural has been secured, and Long’s salary is covered. But funds will be sought from a variety of groups and sources.

“We’re moving forward, and one way or another we’re going to make this happen,” Long said.

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