A dull brick wall on Hamilton Avenue in Northside has been transformed into a field of daisies by the artists of the MuralWorks program.
MuralWorks is a public art initiative started in 2007 by ArtWorks, which employs teenagers 14 and older to work with professional artists in various programs. ArtWorks operates a gallery on Race Street and coordinates public art projects, which have included The Big Pig Gig.

Anyone within Cincinnati can apply for a mural, and the chosen neighborhoods contribute resources and work with artists to complete it. Murals have already been completed in Over-the-Rhine, Roselawn, Millvale, Walnut Hills, Madisonville, Downtown and Clifton.

One of the most important criteria for choosing a mural’s location is visibility. “One thing that is unique about the Northside mural is that it is really an ideal location,” says Colleen Stanton, director of programs for ArtWorks. The mural is next to a park and in the heart of the Northside business district, where numerous cars pass each day.

Northside residents came up with symbols they wanted to be reflected in the mural, which included the historic structures of Hamilton Avenue and daisies. Tim Parsley, the lead artist, used a monochromatic streetscape for the background for the mural, then added vibrant flowers in the foreground.

“It’s very sensitive to the fact that the community values its history, but the daisies represent what’s new,” says Stanton. Adam Mysock, the MuralWorks coordinator, points out that there were more flowers in the original sketch, “but the community felt paring it down and simplifying it was the most energetic and bold statement they could make.”

The 2,000-square-foot mural was finished in November after two months of planning, which incorporated resident feedback at council meetings, and two months of painting. The artistic team included three Northside artists. Such cooperation fosters a direct connection to the area and a sense of ownership, says Stanton, also a Northside resident. And the community loves the mural.

“They think it is really fresh and exciting and something positive for the neighborhood,” she says.

MuralWorks hopes to eventually complete a mural in every Cincinnati neighborhood.