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UToledo Art Department alumna designs mural for inner-city beautification project

July 12, 2019: Artist Caroline Jardine, who earned a BFA with the University of Toledo Department of Art (2017), recently designed and completed a mural project intended to beautify abandoned homes on North Huron Street in the historic Vistula district, Toledo’s first neighborhood. The houses have good “bones” and may yet be re-habilitated. The project is intended to protect them from vandalism in hopes that a buyer may one day remodel them.

Ms. Jardine’s mural consists of panels that cover the windows and doors of the structures. Each panel has a unique design that connects in color scheme and concept to the other panels.

The project was initiated by Reginald Temple, Director and Vice President of Community Development for First Federal Bank of the Midwest. Mr. Temple, a UToledo College of Arts and Letters alumnus (Communication ’03), often partners with the Lucas County Land Bank on various projects. He says this mural is similar to other “board up” projects the Lucas County Land Bank and the Arts Commission have done, like the one for the former residence of Toledo’s legendary jazz pianist, Art Tatum.

The Huron Street project was organized through the collaborative efforts of Mr. Temple’s company, the Lucas County Land Bank and the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo. First Federal Bank provided volunteers, plus lunches and restrooms for the volunteers. The LCLB provided the properties and the Arts Commission commissioned an artist and provided the paint and boards.

Ryan Bunch, Communications and Outreach Coordinator for the Arts Commission, asked Ms. Jardine to design 16 murals for the North Huron Street properties. She says, “I designed the panels so that they would function as individual pieces and as a whole. Lindsay Akens [Creative Placemaking Facilitator, Arts Commission] and Ryan Bunch showed the Vistula community members the designs and received their approval to move forward with the project.”

Ms. Jardine adds that her design was inspired by her own work and the houses themselves. “I chose to include abstracted, minimalist figures that look out to the viewer. The vacant houses are given character and life through these figures. The house at 1109 N. Huron was partially blue to begin with, so I brought in blue as one of the colors in this mural.”

Temple arranged for nearly 60 volunteers from his company to carry out the painting. Ms. Jardine says she was impressed with the volunteers because they did so much more than paint. “The houses that the murals were installed on needed a lot of work. Volunteers cleared brush, mowed the lawns, picked up trash, pulled weeds, and cleaned the porches.”

“Once we finished priming each of the 16 panels (some of which were as large as 4’x8’), I outlined the designs and color-coded them so that the volunteers could begin painting them. We had 2-3 days of painting, one and a half days of touch-ups and detail work, and one and a half days of installation. Finally, we clear-coated the panels and installed them on the first floors of the houses.”

Three young girls from the neighborhood came by daily and watched with great curiosity as the project unfolded. Lindsay Akens and Liam Johnson of the Arts Commission suggested that the scope of the project be increased so that the girls could participate directly. Ms. Jardine designed several additional panels to cover the basement windows for the girls to paint. Mr. Temple noted that the girls were thrilled to be included, “The excitement on their faces was phenomenal.”

The houses are adjacent to each other at 1105 N. Huron and 1109 N. Huron. Anyone interested in purchasing and rehabilitating the properties is asked to contact the Lucas County Land Bank at https://lucascountylandbank.org/  



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Revised: 07/16/19 21:05:51 -0700.




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