Female Mural Artists

If I asked you to name a few artists and painters that are well known or that you  greatly admire,  what names would come to mind?  Now I could be entirely wrong and if so please pardon my presumptions but the probability is that the names that popped into your head first were male.

It is sadly the way things have been for a very long time in more occupations than what I have put forth (including photography I might add).  And don’t get me started on how low on the scale of acknowledgement, popularity or pay it is for a woman especially if she is a minority, more mature in age or a minority woman of a certain age.  But the times they are a changing and for the better.  Yes!

So having said  that, I wish to share here five female mural artists that have their works on display in downtown Columbus, Ohio on the plywood that is covering the destruction caused by looters during the first days of the protests over the death of George Floyd.  They have created some beautiful works with powerful and important messages that just reach out and draw you in.  They stand equally with their brothers in art in creating stunning work.

The Murals

This piece is called “Nothing to Fear Here” by artist Francesca Miller, an Ohio State University Art Education graduate.  She used her young nephew as the model for the  mural.  While her nephew loved seeing himself portrayed in her painting, Francesca wanted any little black boy to be able to see himself in this piece.

nothing to fear here, Francesca Miller, black female artist, mural, painting, art, artist, black lives matter

Artist: Francesca Miller

“We Are Each Other’s Harvest” an Ode to Gwendolyn Brooks.  The artist, Lisa McLymont has a BSID in Industrial Design from Ohio State University.  This is her first solo painted mural and if that isn’t enough of an accomplishment, she is a self taught artist as well.

art, artist, Lisa McLymont, wall mural, Black lives matter

Artist: Lisa McLymont

This is “Never Stop” by Makayla Smith who is currently an Ohio State University student majoring in economics.   This piece is her way of expressing and memorializing  these moments and deaths named in her mural.  Never Stop is about not giving up on seeking justice for these families that no longer have their loved ones with them because of racism, peer violence or the police.

art, artist, wall mural, columbus Ohio, Makayla Smith, BLM

Artist: Makayla Smith

This beautiful piece has no name; I’d call it Lovely Lady if I were to christen her.  The artist, Jonet Mitchell, attends Ohio State University working towards her degree in psychology and has enjoyed painting for years now.  Her use of complimentary and contrasting colors here is gorgeous.

art, artist, wall mural, mural, painting, Columbus Ohio, Jonet Mitchell

Artist: Jonet Mitchell

I’m starting to get a bit jealous of these artists, like Misty Temple here, who are self taught.  Such talent wouldn’t you agree?  She didn’t go to an art school but has been painting her whole life.  While this piece has no name she told me that it speaks for itself by showing how Columbus has the Black Lives Matter’s back.  Misty is a tattooist and owner of her own tattoo studio.

Columbus Ohio, mural, wall mural, painting, art, artist, Misty Temple

Artist: Misty Temple

Art Unites Columbus

Through the partnership of the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (known as CAPA) and the Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC),  artists were hired to paint murals on the plywood that covered businesses damaged by looters or were boarded up to prevent being damaged during the first days of protesting the brutal death of George Floyd.

Under the hashtag banner of #ArtUnitesCbus (Cbus is the affectionate nickname for Columbus) some fantastic art has been created.  The art expresses everything from anger and frustration over injustices perpetuated for years and years to messages of peace, love and unity.

It was nice to see the works of some of my oh so talented artistic friends and to take in the art of new to me artists.  Such beautiful, awe inspiring and thought provoking works of art have been created here.  Some truly touched my heart.

Art along State Street near and on the Ohio Theater

art, artists, wall mural, columbus Ohio, state street, art unites columbus

Artists: Stephen Pierce Davis, Ryden Harriott, Ashley Davis, Spencer Mustine, Avante

Black Lives Matter, wall mural, columbus Ohio, art unites cbus

Artist: Allen Watkins

Ohio Theater , wall murals

Artists: Amanda Caskey, Brenden Spivey, April Sunami, Will Hong Yee, Laurie Clements

wall mural, black lives matter

Artist: April Sunami

Artists: Richard Duarte Brown, Francesca Miller, Peace Shelbi

Artist: Francesca Miller

 

Injustice – Art Over Destruction Part 2

Many of the messages painted by these talented artists were messages of peace but there were others who chose to paint the core emotions of what the protests were and continue to be about.

They painted the names of those who have been killed by the police and those who took the law into their own hands.  They painted words about injustice.  They painted about their fears and frustrations.  They painted that black lives matter thus creating beautiful and meaningful murals.

It’s amazing now to walk along High Street and some of the other streets in downtown Columbus  to view what was once just  plywood boards covering the damage businesses suffered  by those who chose to riot and loot instead of protesting peacefully, turned into a two mile plus outdoor art gallery by these talented local artists.

The art and soul of Columbus indeed!

 

wall art, street art, Short North Art District, Columbus Ohio, protest

black lives matter, columbus ohio, short north, street art, art

Martin Luther King quote, street art, High Street, art

An artist in the midst of creating.

Columbus makes art, art, artist, wall mural, Ohio, Black lives matter

And stepping back to take in her work.

black female artist, Columbus Ohio, wall art, street art

 

 

 

Love, Hope and Peace – Art Over Destruction Part 1

The Short North art district in downtown Columbus, Ohio took the brunt of the hit when the first days of protesting over the brutal death of George Floyd turned unfortunately into rioting.  But instead of letting a large portion of High Street (and other side streets which I hope to explore later)  remain as plain boarded up windows and doors, the Short North Association put out a call to local artists (many of them black artists) to come and paint the business fronts transforming them into messages against racism and social injustice, for Black Lives Matter and for hope and love.

They most definitely and beautifully answered that call.   I’m particularly fond of the Banksy like bunny.  Art makes Columbus and Columbus makes art!

Columbus, Ohio, High Street, Short North District, SNAD

Columbus Makes ARt, Columbus, Ohio, CBUS, art, street art

street art, Short North Art District

High Street, Columbus, Ohio, Street Art

bunny, street art, like Banksy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columbus Protests – Making their voices heard

Getting involved in this march was by a happy accident as I was downtown to photograph street art when I noticed people with signs in hand walking towards the park.  I asked what was going on and was told about the marches for the day.  Wonderful and powerful marches where people of all ages, races,  identification and creeds came together to let their voices be heard about things they were not happy about; things that are terribly wrong and have been going on for far too long!

The march was to begin at 11 am from Goodale Park, down Goodale Avenue to High Street ultimately ending a little over a mile away in front of the Ohio statehouse.  There was a true sense of community supporting and helping one another at this march and it felt so good!  People were there getting attendees registered to vote if they hadn’t already.  Parents and grandparents brought their children, friends were with friends and co-workers with co-workers.

Goodale park, columbus, Ohio, protest march, white coats for black lives, black lives matter

Organizers were giving out masks if you didn’t have one and along the route and at the state house there were groups handing out bottles of water, snacks, sunscreen (it was very hot and humid that day) and hand sanitizer – for free.  There were even volunteers to assist if anyone got sick or hurt.  The turn out was in the hundreds easily… probably more.

columbus, ohio, protest march, white coats for black lives

columbus, ohio, High Street, Short North

end racisim, black lives matter, ohio statehouse, protest march

protest rally, ohio statehouse, June 6, 2020, Columbus Ohio

The police eventually began to block off some of the streets where the protesting was to be for everyone’s safety.   While I was there for this and the White Coats for Black lives protests (see that post here) the police presence was minimal and peaceful.

Calm prevailed for these powerful moments.

 

Columbus Protests – White Coats for Black Lives

June 6, 2020 marked the tenth day since Columbus, Ohio began to protest the death of George Floyd.  This protest was different from all the others as it was a large contingency of doctors under the banner of White Coats for Black Lives.  As part of the Physicians Action Network, doctors were here to show support for their colleagues, friends and patients in order to affect change within the health system.

Those changes being equal healthcare for all, to change the racial disparities that result in worse outcomes for people of color and to declare racism as a health crisis.  The organizers asked everyone to protest peacefully (which they did) in order to avoid the police usage of wooden and rubber bullets and gas and pepper spray which they said can worsen the health of those already at risk and that the coughing from the sprays could potentially spread the Covid virus.  All of the doctors and I’d guess upwards of 95% of the other attendees were wearing face masks.

The march started at Goodale Park in downtown Columbus and made it’s way down to the state capitol.  There was a sea of white coats with their signs that represented many diverse fields of medicine, several hospitals and were of  various ages, races and religions.

Columbus, Ohio, white coats for black lives, protest, march, doctors

white coats for black lives, black lives matter

Entire families where there like this Ob/Gyn doctor and her little one.  She was a bit tired from all the excitement and just wanted to nap through it all.

mother and child

But what spoke powerful volumes was when all of the white coats with signs in hand knelt for eight minutes and forty six seconds!  The time the policeman knelt on George Floyd.

protest march, columbus Ohio, white coats for black lives, state house

black lives matter

protest signs, anti racisim

white coats for black lives, Columbus, Ohio, protest signs

fight racism, white coats for black lives

black men in medicine

It was such a powerful moment that they hope everyone will take to heart and work towards making positive changes.

doctors, future doctors, black doctors lives matter

protest sign, columbus, Ohio, state house

What happens when…

A peaceful protest turns into a riot?  A riot  because some  just wanted to create chaos or twist the event into their own agenda and away from it’s original intent.  A riot from those with misdirected anger or a riot just from people who saw an opportunistic way to commit criminal actions.

It’s wrong on all fronts and takes away from the message of the protest. It can make you feel angry, disheartened and frustrated.  But imagine how it makes the business owners, employees and those who live above theses businesses feel?

High Street, Columbus Ohio, Short North, protests, riots

black lives matter

bakersfield, restaurant, columbus, Ohio, boarded up

I would imagine they are feeling very emotional.  There was no reason to destroy and loot these places making it difficult if not impossible to do business; giving them yet another setback after they had been closed because of the virus and were just beginning to reopen.

Some of the boarded up buildings were like that because they had their windows broken the night before while many were trying to cut any potential losses by preemptively protecting their establishments.

I stopped and spoke with this woman who worked at the Phia salon.  She told me that while their shop hadn’t been damaged, the stores next to them had and the owner of the building was taking the preventative approach of board now rather than board later.

Their door was locked and the only way you could get in was if you were an employee with a key, you called ahead or you knocked on the door and were let in.  I must note that I did go into the salon (mask on face) and was quite impressed with how they were adhering to the procedures set by the state in order to reopen.   Well done, Phia!

Phia Salon, Columbus Ohio

Some stores were boarded up and closed  while others, like the salon, were trying to continue doing business;  taking things in stride even decorating their exteriors.

Press Grill

The Press Grill, casual neighborhood bar and restaurant, right in the heart of the Short North area of Columbus was open and busy decorating and showing their support for the protests.  How long they were able to remain open that day I do not know.

It was while standing and watching them paint that I learned a bit about the establishment and the surrounding area.  The grill has been here since around 1942 and the area was once a rough one composed of abandoned and boarded up buildings with very few actual businesses; a far cry from how vibrant it is now!  “Short North” was what this stretch of High Street was called because it was north of downtown Columbus and short of  the Ohio State University campus.

I know (and really hope) that the vibrant and entertaining Short North will be back for everyone to enjoy once again.

Stay strong Cbus!

Protesting in Columbus, Ohio

As I am sure you are all well aware of by now, the United States has exploded (literally and figuratively) with anger, sadness and frustration from the recent unfounded harassment, accusations of criminal/suspicious activity and deaths of African American men and women.  These deaths and uncalled for treatments were by the white hands of so called neighborhood watch private citizens,  women claiming a black person or group made them feel uncomfortable or they shouldn’t have been someplace when they were just living their lives or they were killed by officers of the law over a counterfeit bill.

The names Ahmaud Arbery, Christian Cooper, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have been in the news recently for being,  as some have coined it, “Black in America” which means they were the victims of racism and injustice.  Yes! Racism is still quite alive and kicking!  And because of these and other cruel, ignorant and deadly acts compounded by everyone being on edge from Covid-19 and toss in the insanity that is politics… the bubbling pot of emotions exploded!

I believe in an individuals right to protest but I am firmly against rioting.  There is a big difference!  For the past four days, there have been protests and rioting in our country because of what happened to the aforementioned black people.  It has brought out both the best and the worst in us as people.  So yesterday, May 30, I went into downtown Columbus to see things for myself.  I felt it was very important to witness and record this.

Fortunately I was not by the state house where things turned ugly and pepper spray and force were used and we wisely left downtown right before the fires , rioting and the streets being blocked off began.  It was a bit frightening to see later on the evening news a scene of a fire burning right where we had parked.

But here are some of the peaceful protestors I witnessed.  It’s important to show that there was peaceful protesting and not just mayhem although I was yelled at by one voice in the crowd to photograph the police and not them but that was the only dissenting voice.  Everyone marched peacefully albeit with some “interesting” sayings on their signs and a few “colorful” chants.  And it was so good to see all races united together for this protest.

protest, protesting, Columbus, Ohio, High Street, Short North, Black Lives Matter

While some would say the protestors wore masks to hide their identities, I prefer to think of it as being conscious of large gatherings while the specter of Covid still lingers.  Since these photos were taken Columbus is on a 10pm to 6am curfew until further notice, the National Guard has been called in and are patrolling the streets and a large section of the city is shut down; you cannot get in or out unless you can prove you work or live there for example.

Parts of the city are boarded up now while they clean up the damage brought about by these senseless acts of destruction .  It’s disheartening that this uncalled for rioting took place period but even more so when some of these businesses that took a hit had just reopened or were allowing inside shopping and dining again after the lock down.  Now…who knows when or if they will reopen.   I truly hope they do.

(Coming up – How protesting and rioting effected downtown businesses and I learn why the Short North is called the Short North.)

 

 

Ohio Reopens

As we are all very much aware of, the country has been under various lock down orders to help “flatten the curve” from Covid-19 which has meant not much has been happening here in Ohio but now that is changing as more places – with the proper safety and social distancing measures – are opening their doors again and people are venturing out.  I recently paid a visit to the Short North area in Columbus for the first time since we began sheltering in place two months ago to see what was happening and how.

short north district, Columbus, Ohio

Restaurants that were once closed or only doing carry-out are now offering dining (again with social distancing and safety measures in place) on patios with inside dining coming soon.

restaurant

Hai Poke

restaurant, Local Cantina, Columbus, Ohio

Local Cantina Patio

Some stores are still closed while they try to figure out how best to conduct business under the new guideline for keeping both employees and customers safe while others have enacted said measures already and have opened their doors again.

High Street, Columbus, Ohio, Short North, stores

Torso and Samson

I ventured into one of my favorite shopping haunts, Anthropologie, after first calling to see if they were open and what if any requirements customers might have to adhere to. I entered a store that was much more quiet with far fewer customers than ever before which felt just a tiny bit surreal but they were open which was the good point.

Shields were in front of the check-out counters, there was a limit to how many customers could be in the store at a time, each employee wore a mask (for customers it was optional; I chose to wear mine) and if you tried on anything an employee went in afterwards and wiped down the inside of the dressing room.

Welcome back from Anthropologie

Mentioning  masks, for those not in the medical/first responders field it has become a hotly debated issue.  Some are staunch believers while others dislike it.  I won’t delve into that here but I’ve noticed the variety of masks that are being worn ( a big thank you to those who have made masks and donated them) has gotten quite interesting and creative.

Who could have ever predicted  face masks becoming a fashion statement of sorts.  Even big fashion designers have jumped on the mask bandwagon and the number of tutorials online on how to DIY your own is staggering.  It is your choice to wear one or not, unless you go someplace where it is required or you need to wear one for health reasons, so why not make it a stylish one.

face mask

face masks

And remember Ohio and everyone else in the world, we are…….

 

 

 

 

 

KaTanya Ingram – The Gallery Hop Singer

While exploring downtown Columbus, Ohio during one of it’s monthly gallery hops in the Short North Art District I heard someone singing a familiar song and I had to go investigate.  It was  KaTanya Ingram, at her spot on High Street singing  tunes that had passing by cars honking, couples walking down the street stopping to dance and others pausing to enjoy and sometimes sing along with her.

Short North Gallery Hop, Katanya Ingram

While the Gallery Hop is about the art galleries in the district, the hop also has many street artists as well.  KaTanya is known as The Gallery Hop Singer and  last year she celebrated, as you can see, her 10th anniversary as such.

But how did it all start for this songbird?  She was an “Army Brat” as a child (her mother was in the Army) and this believe it or not was how she began singing.  While they were stationed in Germany, she would entertain herself by listening to the only American radio station they had which played Top 40’s hits.  She would sing along with the songs over and over (they repeated the same songs for weeks) at home until she felt she had it just right.   As she told me in our interview “I felt like Mariah Carey was my personal voice coach!

But she never sang in public for years because of stage fright, which she admits she still has to some extent, until one day on a cruise with some friends she entered a karaoke contest.  “None of these people were ever going to see me again so I felt it was safe to go ahead and possibly embarrass myself.”  She sang Natural Woman to a man she pulled on stage with her that she didn’t even know and she won!

When she moved to Columbus, Ohio she answered a Craigslist ad for a band who wanted a singer, thinking nothing would come of it.   She was hired and sang with them for awhile at small gigs and then one fateful day they performed at one of the gallery hops.  She loved it so much so that she wanted to go back and do it again –  the band didn’t.  There was an eventual parting of the ways between them and with her first karaoke set up she went on to become the Short North Gallery Hop singer in 2009.

She enjoys singing  so much that doing it for upwards of six hours at each gallery hop;  interacting with the public who walks by or stops to chat with her is a pleasure.  No stage fright here!

Columbus Makes Art, Short North Gallery Hop Singer, Columbus Ohio

When the corona virus hit Ohio it impacted the income streams for many including individual artists like KaTanya who saw their events and shows cancelled.  The Greater Columbus Art Council came up with ideas to help keep musicians employed  as well as to bring music to those who could use a bit of cheer while staying home.  And thus Curbside Concerts in Columbus, Ohio were created.

You can book a musician through the Curbside Concerts website who will come to your neighborhood or house and following all social safety and distancing rules will perform for you.  Requests have been for couples celebrating anniversaries or children sending a parent a singer to cheer them up by singing some of their favorite tunes.  The requests are free but the artists do accept tips.  You can request a Curbside Concert here.

Here she is performing from the back of one of the donated  by Ricart Automotive pickup trucks for this project.

Photo courtesy of Eric Albrecht – Columbus Dispatch

Her brand is Girl Now What.   If you wish to request her she specializes in soul, gospel and R&B.  These concerts and serenades have been lifting the spirits of many in Columbus and when this quarantine is over be sure to stop by and hear KaTanya singing once again, the first Saturday of each month, at the gallery hop in Columbus.

Visit their website to find out more about the Short North Art District’s monthly gallery hops and other events.  If you wish to have KaTanya sidewalk serenade you then contact her at her Instagram page @girlnowwhat or on Facebook at KaTanya Ingram.

(The curbside concerts are sponsored by The Columbus Foundation and Can’t Stop Columbus, an initiative of Smart Columbus. The Greater Columbus Arts Council and Doug and Monica Kridler via the Streetlight Guild have provided the funding to pay for the artists to perform.)