Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018
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Artists paint the town — literally


Bob Garcia, an Organization of Latino Artists member, touches up a mural on the building at the corner of Jervis and Broadway in Toledo.

The Blade/Lori King
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Dating as far back as 30,000 years ago in French caves and developing sophistication by ancient Egypt and Greco-Roman times, murals continue to educate and decorate, amuse and inspire.

Since 2010, a dozen murals have sprung up on Broadway Street, beginning with three on concrete piers under I-75 just south of downtown and heading south a half-mile to Crittendon Avenue. Most have been done under the auspices of Mario Torero, a Chilean-born San Diego "artivist" (artist/activist) who has come to Bowling Green State University in recent years to teach students to design and execute murals in the context of public art.

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These murals usually begin with a design that’s projected and traced onto a wall at night. The painting team works off of the original drawing when brushing on color, but there’s often room for improvisation: The mural on the Providence Center at 1205 Broadway added a tall neighborhood man who stopped to chat with painters, as well as an image of a woman of Native-American heritage.

An outgrowth was this year’s establishment of the Organization of Latino Artists, who spent the summer painting a huge folkloric mural on the side of a former florist building and a few others.

With colors that sing, the murals that brighten this poor, tough neighborhood bear a message beyond the faces and flowers and serpents; thoughts of hope to those who live here as well as to the thousands who drive through every day. This place and its residents deserve beauty, care, and safety.

Contact Tahree Lane at: tlane@theblade.com or 419-724-6075.

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