Murals continue to be a big part of downtown renaissance
As we all know, downtown Toledo has gone through a true transformation in recent years. Part of bringing some of the old buildings back to life, has included outdoor art. Those involved with the so-called murals movement, say there are more than 100 of them around the city. And they believe the artwork has helped brighten up some old spaces.
A lot of you are used to seeing art on the walls inside a museum, but it's been turning up on walls and buildings all over the city in recent years. A lot of streets offer up plenty of artistic surprises. Some are on buildings, others are on walls.
Zach Lahey owns Manhattan's Pub and Cheer,"For all the people involved with the revitalization of the city, there's always been a desire to find empty spaces and walls and do something with instead of leaving them blank and boring. It is great to make them artistic and colorful."
More than 50 of the outdoor murals were coordinated by Rachel Richardson, "I was yearning to bring artists and activists together. I feel like Toledo has a lot of both. Also, parts of the city were looking like they had not been shown love in several decades. I spend a lot of time downtown. I thought we ought to put some love on the walls of these buildings, just like you would on the walls of your home."
Rachel says it quickly became clear that the outdoor artwork was part of the bigger picture for Toledo's renaissance, "I really started to see that if you put a mural in a seemingly forgotten location, that place is remembered. All of sudden it becomes a place, a destination."
That's exactly what happened with one of the most recognizable murals of all. The Toledo Loves Love wall. Other than the mural his mother painted in his restaurant, that is Zach's favorite, "There's a blending of black and white with all the colors of the rainbow. The Toledo Loves Love was is so creative and so unique. You could stare at it all day and see all kinds of different things."
In addition to the murals inside his restaurant, Lahey says one of the first outdoor murals in the city is right behind the uptown hot spot, "It's been awesome to watch all that color go up on walls and to see the different styles of art that go up."
The murals are all very different Some are simple, others are elaborate. Many are modern, some are a nod to the rich history of our city. So does the woman who helped start it all have a favorite? "I know I am not supposed to have one, but the Judy Dilloway mural is absolutely my favorite. I think it is so simple, elegant and profound. It can mean whatever you want it to mean." That's the beauty of all this artwork. The murals have helped illustrate a wonderful new chapter in the story of Toledo and its people.