by John Rivera-Resto
Tremonsters may have noticed the mural presently in progress on Clark Avenue, just west of W. 25th Street. It’s titled, It’s up to us, and work began in June 2012, and is projected to be completed during the fall.
The work is a collaboration between Christopher “Chris” Luciani, Cultural Arts Manager for the City of Cleveland, and myself. Under Chris’s leadership, the ‘Mural My Neighborhood’ program has employed high school students and an artist/teacher to paint murals around the city during the summer months. This year, however, a new approach was adopted for the program.
Chris and I decided to “raise the bar”—way high—and aim to produce murals of professional quality and content. To accomplish this goal, two groups of fifteen individually selected students, ages ranging from fourteen to eighteen trained for three months prior to the commencement of site work. Two mural designs, created by me, were to be painted with the assistance of the new apprentices.
The curriculum was a fast-pace combination of basic wall painting theory and hands-on exercises specifically designed to have them ready for the work site. High expectations demanded rigorous training. Painting a highly detailed, two thousand square foot mural—under the hot and relentless summer sun, high atop scaffolding—can only be accomplished by a well-trained and disciplined outfit. At least two thirds of the work is expected to be completed by the apprentices under my guidance before I complete the last stages of the painting.
Presently, two murals are being painted simultaneously: one on Cleveland’s east side, the other just outside of Tremont on Clark Avenue and W. 25th Street, across from the U.S. Bank building. I work with the first group on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and with the second group on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays—the several adult supervisors always work along with the students, assuring the daily tasks and site protocols are followed. I hope Tremonsters enjoy seeing our mural develop!