ArtWorks News

Celebrating October as Mural Month in Cincinnati

ArtWorks' 2021 Summer Team at Five Points Alley
ArtWorks’ 2021 Summer Team at Five Points Alley. Photo by Sandra Okot-Kotber.

ArtWorks is proud to celebrate October as Mural Month in Cincinnati! This month, we honor the power of public art, and all it does for our community. Below are ways you can get connected to ArtWorks during this year’s festivities.

Why Public Art Matters

Tylonn Sawyer’s A Song of Freedom. Photo by J. Miles Wolf.

At ArtWorks, we have seen our community be transformed by public art.

“Cities gain value through public art – cultural, social, and economic value. Public art is a distinguishing part of our public history and our evolving culture. It reflects and reveals our society, adds meaning to our cities and uniqueness to our communities. Public art humanizes the built environment and invigorates public spaces. It provides an intersection between past, present and future, between disciplines, and between ideas. Public art is freely accessible.”

In 2020, Cincinnati was named as one of the nation’s top metro areas for the arts, according to the Southern Methodist University’s SMU DataArts sixth annual Arts Vibrancy Index. This is the first time ever the Cincinnati metro area has appeared on the list, ranking at number 20 on the list.

“The city is adorned with mural art painted over the last 25 years by arts apprentices in a youth employment program…In 2017 and again in 2019, Cincinnati created a new four-day festival called BLINK®, one of the largest light, art, and projection mapping events in the nation. In 2019, nearly 1.5 million people visited Cincinnati to experience BLINK, which spanned 30 city blocks and two states by crossing over the Ohio River into Kentucky.”

ArtWorks Now Celebrating 25 Years

ArtWorks tents are set up outside the former School of Creative and Performing Arts in 1996. ArtWorks archive.

ArtWorks is proud to bring impactful public art to our region and to expand our cultural identity. Since our beginning in 1996, we have been empowering creatives to lead our community as changemakers. It was the vision of then-mayor Roxanne Qualls to create a program for the city’s young people to earn a wage while being mentored by professional artists.

“Just as there is now, there was an ongoing problem then with youth employment, and there is a desire to have productive work,” Qualls said in this recent interview. “And what could be more productive than, if you are a young person who has talent in the arts, to be offered opportunity to earn a wage, to learn employment skills and to create public art that really enhances the quality of life in your neighborhood?”

With the support of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, the City of Cincinnati and many others, ArtWorks hired its first 100 youth apprentices to work under tents in what is now known as Zeigler Park. Since those early days, ArtWorks has hired 4,000 youth apprentices, ages 14 – 21 over our 25 years.

ArtWorks launched the Big Pig Gig in 2000, where more than 400 fiberglass pigs were placed in downtown Cincinnati and in Covington and Newport, Kentucky. Since then, ArtWorks has led or been a part has been part of many more public art initiatives, including a revival of the Big Pig Gig, Bats Incredible, Ink Your Love, and BLINK.

14 Years of Transformational Murals

The Spirit of Progress in Evanston. Photo by J. Miles Wolf.

When then-Mayor Mark Mallory visited the City of Philadelphia early in his term, he was inspired by the city’s vast array of large-scale murals. He soon approached ArtWorks to see if a mural program could be launched. ArtWorks said yes, and in 2007, ArtWorks began to employ youth apprentices and professional artists to create more than 200 permanent outdoor murals. Learn more about our mural program by purchasing our book, Transforming Cincinnati: How a Decade of ArtWorks Murals Changed People and Communities Forever

“It’s been fantastic to see the murals evolve, and see the involvement of the communities in the process,” Mallory said in this recent interview.

How You Can Celebrate Mural Month 2021

Avondale Heroes Team. Photo by Carlynne Welch.

ArtWorks is about community, so we invite you to be part of our festivities during Mural Month 2021!

Attend a Project Dedication

Our teams have been hard at work this year creating more inspirational works of art through our season of Stronger Together, and now is the time to celebrate them! Please RSVP and bring a friend to help us honor all the work this summer.

Avondale’s Hear Us Out Mural Dedication – October 5, 5 p.m.

Join us to celebrate the latest mural in Avondale, Hear Us Out, which will immediately precede the National Night Out festivities.

RSVP for Avondale’s Hear Us Out Mural Dedication

ArtWorks + Urban Blooms Green Wall Mural Dedication – October 9, 2 p.m.

Join us to celebrate the ArtWorks + Urban Blooms Green Wall mural in Walnut Hills on Saturday October 9, 2021 • 2 p.m.

RSVP for ArtWorks + Urban Blooms Green Wall Mural Dedication 

ArtWorks + Wordplay Mural Dedication – October 14, 5:30 p.m.

Join us to celebrate the ArtWorks + Wordplay mural in Northside on Thursday, October 14, 5:30 p.m.

RSVP for ArtWorks + Wordplay Mural Dedication

Casa Colina Mural Dedication in Price Hill – October 15, 5 p.m.

Join us as we celebrate the Casa Colina mural in Price Hill on Friday, October 15, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

RSVP for the Casa Colina Mural Dedication

Take a Mural Tour
Couple in front of Tim Parsley’s The Golden Muse mural. Photo by Louis Rideout.

Go on an ArtWorks award-winning public mural tour in October! Cincinnati is an awe-inspiring colorful art gallery. Walk through historic downtown streets and explore our City’s impressive collection of monumental murals with ArtWorks’ volunteers. October is the last month for public walking tours for 2021.

Purchase Public Walking Tour Tickets

ArtWorks also has a downloadable map for free for those who preferred a self-guided tour.

Get Your Free Mural Map

Attend Viva Voce: Native Flora in Art – October 8, 5:30 p.m.
Casa Colina mural by Batres Gilvin. Photo by Devin Grimm.

On Friday, October 8, 2021, ArtWorks will be hosting the next Viva Voce Artist Conversation in person on Native Flora in Art. Four artists discuss their work which explores the identity of people and places through the lens of local plant life. Each of the artists had direct ties to working with the land through community gardens or residing on a farm. These artists use floral motifs in their work and see the land as a way to connect and build community. The panelists will include artists Batres Gilvin, Lizzy DuQuette, Lyric Morris-Latchaw, and Tyler Wolf.

Viva Voce, a series of creative conversations with Artists and ArtWorks’ Alumni. Today, the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region has a global reputation as an arts destination and is full of talented working creatives. ArtWorks invites you to connect with Artists who are creating groundbreaking works. Hear Artists speak about their artwork and current issues in this series, and we invite you to join the conversation. The event is free, but RSVP is requested.

RSVP for Viva Voce: Native Flora in Art 

Visit the V² Gallery
April Sunami’s work in the V2 Gallery. Photo by Sandra Okot-Kotber.

ArtWorks’ V² Gallery is unlike any other gallery in Cincinnati, focusing on young emerging Artists. Inspired by ArtWorks amazing apprentice program, the young artists of this program learn the tools and techniques of lead artists and create their own individual works of art to exhibit as an intentional group show. The ArtWorks V² Gallery is located at 901 E. McMillian in Walnut Hills. Visit Wednesdays – Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. The current exhibit is April Sunami’s The Way We See Ourselves: Telling Stories Through Self Portraits running now through October 16, 2021. This exhibit features the work of Sunami and nine emerging artists.


Attend the next V² Gallery’s Opening – October 29, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Batres Gilvin. Photo credit: Peggy Joseph.

The next gallery opening for the ArtWorks V² Gallery will be held Friday, Oct. 29, from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m., celebrating the opening of Cut the Bias, led by the artist collective, Batres Gilvin. Youth artists are creating painted hammered tin wall hangings, inspired by traditional Mexican folk art materials and techniques, with contemporary messages.

RSVP for Cut the Bias Gallery Opening

Visit The ArtWorks Shop

Now located inside our new office in Walnut Hills, we are proud to open our ArtWorks Shop at 2460 Gilbert Avenue! We invite you to stop by to check out our unique gifts and mural merchandise! Items include prints, books, tees, totes, pins, stationary and stickers. Open Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Drink a Beer for ArtWorks

ArtWorks is partnering with Sonder Brewery in Mason for Giving on a Prayer for the month of October! ArtWorks will receive 10% of sales of Birdwatcher Brown Ale all month, and 20% of sales on 10/19. We will have a table set up throughout the day, so feel free to stop by whenever you can!

Give to the Apprentice Promise
2021’s Avondale Mediation Mural Team. Photo by MonstaTheEngineer.

ArtWorks transforms young people, ages 14 – 21, by connecting them to creative professional mentors and their city, and we need your support to keep the program going. This employment opportunity extends beyond the artwork and includes enrichment workshops in resume writing, interviewing, and financial literacy as well as public speaking experience. ArtWorks makes a permanent mark on each Apprentice and they make a permanent mark on our community. The Apprentice Promise campaign supports jobs for youth in the arts. Thank you for your gift!

Give to the Apprentice Promise

About ArtWorks

ArtWorks is an award-winning Greater Cincinnati nonprofit that transforms people and places through investments in creativity. The organization collaborates with community organizations and residents, businesses, governments, foundations and nonprofits to build creative works of art that bolster the region’s global reputation as an arts destination. ArtWorks employs professional artists who inspire and mentor diverse teams of youth, ages 14-21, helping them build 21st century career-readiness skills. These teams have completed more than 14,000 public and private art projects in its 25 years, including more than 200 permanent outdoor murals. Learn more at