ArtWorks dedicates first mural of the summer

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ArtWorks celebrate the completion of their first West End neighborhood mural, It Is Possible: A Celebration of Susan O'Malley's Life and Work, with a mural dedication on Monday.

O’Malley’s artwork has gained international recognition and has been exhibited in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston, and the Parthenon Museum in Nashville—as well as in galleries and museums in the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Poland.

Susan O’Malley unexpectedly passed away in 2015, but her nephew, Gibson Kirsch, a junior at Walnut Hills High School, wanted to see her legacy continue in Cincinnati. Kirsch approached Cincinnati ArtWorks about sponsoring a mural of her work. Inspired by O’Malley’s artistic focus on human connection, ArtWorks selected the Seven Hills Neighborhood Houses as the location for the installation, which features uplifting phrases such as “It Is Possible.”

In addition to painting three vibrant and striking large-scale works, this project team of one Project Manager, one Teaching Artist and eight Youth Apprentices engaged with West End neighborhood residents at multiple community sessions inspired by Susan O’Malley’s work with people. Community engagement was central to O’Malley’s process as an artist, and her book, “Advice From My 80-Year-Old Self: Real Words of Wisdom from People Ages 7 to 88,” exemplifies this value and approach by showcasing the life advice Susan gathered from residents in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2014. Through community engagement and art-making with neighborhood residents, this project highlights the spirit of Susan O’Malley, the power of community, and the uniqueness of Cincinnati’s West End neighborhood.

This is the first dedication this summer for ArtWorks. ArtWorks is working on 16 mural projects this summer that are being completed through August.

Alex ReillyCULTURE