The “Natural History” mural was painted on a 400-ft. retaining wall. One of the unique elements of “Natural History” — in addition to its magnitude and size — is the fact that members of the public helped to fill in the design, which was laid out by Morris-Latchaw and her team.
“The artists worked really hard, but just having the community be a part of it made it so much fun for them,” Acus-Smith said.
“We want to celebrate the art, the artists, and the partnerships formed for StreetSpark in service of the community, and we want people in the community to come down, take some photos, see these murals, meet the artists and have some conversations,” said MacKenzie-Thurley.
In addition to doing some of the the work on “Natural History,” during the recent ElectriCITY event June 11-12, area artists completed a dozen other murals on city utility boxes along High and Main Streets, as well as four 4 x 8-foot portraits of people connected to the concept of electricity, which were painted in Journal Square by artist Brent Billingsley and his team.
ElectriCITY was a three-phase project that engaged community members and allowed them opportunities to work alongside the artists. Community members had opportunities to paint, interact and chat with the participating artists.
“People got to be involved,” Acus-Smith said. “Whether watching or painting, people got to see that artists aren’t always working in a studio by themselves all the time. Making art like this is almost like a performance; the artists were engaged with people in the community and vice versa. That really made our project special.”
In addition to the dedication, StreetSpark will also announce its next project as part of the celebration. StreetSpark is calling for artists to use their creativity to submit original designs, which could end up rolling around town on a bus.
“This call for designs is unique, because this is mobile, public art. I think it’s a unique opportunity for artists, because these buses are going to travel throughout Butler County,” Acus-Smith said.
Area artists will have an opportunity to submit designs to decorate a Butler County Regional Transit Authority bus with a graphic wrap. Those interested can find out more information at the dedication ceremony or visit fittoncenter.org/streetspark. There will also be a previously decorated StreetSpark/BCRTA bus on site for inspiration.
The submission process is now open and will culminate with three buses bearing StreetSpark artist designs, which will be unveiled in the fall. The deadline to submit design ideas is July 29.
“This has been a great way to present incredible public art in a different way, obviously, on a bus, and that has been a fantastic opportunity for all of the partners and the artists,” said MacKenzie-Thurley.
All the designs will be created for the buses from the beginning, which is exciting, he said.
StreetSpark is a public art program that was established in partnership with the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, the City of Hamilton and the Hamilton Community Foundation. There are over 20 murals now, and the community has continued to engage and embrace the public art.