ArtWorks News

New Loren Long Book Inspires ArtWorks Mural for Queen City Book Bank

CINCINNATI—A new ArtWorks mural, designed by renowned artist Loren Long, will celebrate the Queen City Book Bank (QCBB) and Long’s newest book, “The Yellow Bus.” Starting June 3, a team of 10 ArtWorks Apprentices (local high school and post-high schoolers, ages 14–21) and two Teaching Artists have been working to bring a lively, mission-minded scene from the book to life on a grand scale on a wall outside QCBB’s headquarters, 1200 Gest Street in Queensgate.

ArtWorks and the QCBB are dedicated to collaborating with community partners to maximize impact throughout the region. This partnership shines a light on their efforts and on Long’s new book, to be released this summer.

Long, a QCBB board member and a Cincinnati resident for more than three decades, has illustrated nearly 30 books and has appeared on “The New York Times” bestseller list 12 times. “The Yellow Bus, an inspiring story that underscores the transformative power of being in service to others, will go on sale June 25, 2024, from Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. The book is about a forgotten school bus that finds joy and purpose in the most unexpected places and in the journey along the way.

QCBB is dedicated to promoting a love for reading and will be distributing 3,500 copies of “The Yellow Bus” to children in their curated book program this September. The mural will celebrate the spirit of community and act as a reminder of opportunities for growth, promoting a sense of hope and resilience within the hearts of onlookers.

“We are ecstatic about this very special project with Loren, ArtWorks and Macmillan Publishers,” said Michelle Otten Guenther, CEO of the QCBB. “‘The Yellow Bus’ will be our signature book for the 2024–25 school year and its simple, but profound, message will set the tone for an inspiring year ahead. This unique mural reinforces that by working together our community makes literacy a priority.”

The public will have a chance to hear from Long and the ArtWorks mural team at the Wet Paint public speaking event on July 11, 6–7:30 p.m. at the 21C Museum Hotel, 609 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. Admission is free but advanced registration is required.

Apprentices will complete their work on the mural in early August. ArtWorks and the QCBB are planning a public mural dedication celebration mid-September.

In commemoration of the nation’s 250th anniversary the Ohio Commission for the U.S. Semiquincentennial (also called America 250-Ohio) will include the Queen City Book Bank mural as part of their Statewide Mural Recognition Program which will be rolled out later this year and continue through 2026.

About Queen City Book Bank
Queen City Book Bank works in tandem with community to champion the development of literacy through tutoring, little free libraries, literacy outreach and guaranteeing book access for all of our neighbors. The QCBB program will provide 10 new books annually to more than 30,000 under-resourced elementary students in the Greater Cincinnati area.

About Loren Long
Loren Long is the author and illustrator of the bestselling “Otis” picture book series, now an animated television series on Apple+. He’s also the illustrator of the #1 “New York Times” bestsellers “Of Thee I Sing” by Barack Obama, “Love” by Matt de la Peña, and “Change Sings” by Presidential Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman. He lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife and rescue dog, Charlie.

About ArtWorks

Since 1996, ArtWorks has collaborated with community organizations and residents, businesses, governments, foundations, and nonprofits to create works of art that have helped to define Greater Cincinnati’s global reputation as an arts destination. Its mural program has made Cincinnati the #1 City for Street Art in USA Today’s 2024 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. By employing and training over 3,500 professional artists and engaging 4,000 teens and young adults, ages 14-24, ArtWorks is actively investing in the creative economy. Through job creation that supports local talent and mentorship programs that pair professional artists with diverse teams of young people, their programs foster the development of 21st-century career-readiness skills. ArtWorks has created a vibrant citywide gallery with more than 14,000 public and private art projects over the last 28 years. Among these are more than 300 permanent outdoor murals that contribute to Cincinnati’s rich cultural tapestry, enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

ArtWorks receives ongoing funding from the City of Cincinnati, the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsWave.