Many enjoy Glen Echo Park, one of several ravine parks in the Clintonville and University Area. It’s a special place, a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. On June 24, 1912, Glen Echo Park was initially dedicated to the City of Columbus, Ohio, “for public park purposes forever” by the Columbus Real Estate and Improvement Co.
“We enjoy the natural beauty of the Glen Echo Ravine, with pretty dramatic cliffs and a meandering creek,” says Eliza Ho, creative director of Tim Lai ArchitecT. “It is amazing that the park is so close to the busy corridors like Indianola and Hudson, with thousands of cars pass by each day. The park is definitely an urban oasis for the residents around.”
Earlier this year, Ho and her husband Tim Lai were contacted by Mike McLaughlin, president of the Lower Olentangy Urban Arboretum to begin discussions about designing a mural to help take care of graffiti on the Indianola bridge underpass over Glen Echo Ravine. McLaughlin is a fan of the SoHud mural project spearheaded last July by Wild Goose Creative.
Ho and Lai designed the winning Tree Mural design under their non-profit arm, ALTernative. With ALTernative, they aim “to use art and design to improve Clintonville and other Columbus neighborhoods while advocating the general education of art and design to raise awareness of the built-environment.”
Kickstarter is being used to raise more funding for the Ohio Birds Mural to be painted in the bridge underpass. The project also received $2,700 in grants from 200Columbus and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. The bridge has been tagged many times with graffiti, that the City of Columbus has paid to cover up. With the Ohio Birds Mural, the hope is that the tagging will stop, leaving the beautiful and educational mural for all to enjoy.
Ho and Lai did the research on what birds should be included in the mural. Over 150 bird species can be found in the area. The Glen Echo Bird Club provided them with more suggestions on what resident and migratory birds can be seen in Glen Echo.
“The Grange Insurance Audubon Center is going to help us research on educational materials of each of the 35 featured birds on the mural,” says Ho. “Our next step, as the mural is being completed, will be to develop a website to contain detailed information of the birds and print educational pamphlets.”
Clint Davidson, the artist chosen to paint the mural, will help develop a diagram that will identify the birds and then visitors can view more information on the website (to be developed). The original idea of including QR codes next to each bird proved too difficult to paint on the rough walls of the bridge.
Davidson first heard about the project through Lydia Warren who is active in the efforts to revitalize and beautify the Glen Echo area.
“I was immediately interested because I already use birds as subject matter quite often, and I love painting large scale, and outdoors whenever possible,” says Davidson. “I wanted to apply because I would like to paint murals for a living eventually.”
A native of Louisville, KY, Davidson moved to Columbus in 1996 to attend CCAD, and graduated in 2000. After graduation, he has worked various jobs, including gallery co-manager at Blue Cube Arts from 2001-2002. He has exhibited his art in several places including the Michael Orr Gallery, the Art Exchange, and Memento Tattoo and Gallery in Grandview. He was also a part of the Short North Art Al Fresco, and recently painted at Urban Scrawl. He loves being a part of the projects that make Columbus a cool city.
“I am proud to be a part of the cultural and artistic development of Columbus and am proud to call Columbus home.”
Sixty-seven people have backed the project so far, completely funding it and then some. If extra funds allow, the plan is to place an anti-graffiti coating over the mural for protection. They would also like to pave the pathways to ensure the mural has easy accessibility.
The Kickstarter campaign runs through Wednesday, June 27. You can donate here.
A Priming Party is planned for tomorrow, Saturday, June 16th from 9am to noon. Meet under the Indianola Avenue Bridge at Glen Echo Park.
Please come to help, meet the artist Clint Davidson, and enjoy food donated from great businesses in Clintonville, including Mozart’s Cafe, Pattycake Bakery, Clintonville Community Market, and Crimson Cup Coffee. Kids in the neighborhood will also host a lemonade stand. Bring a few bucks to buy from them. All proceeds go toward helping complete the mural and continue to beautify Glen Echo Park and Ravine.
All clean up and painting supplies will be provided. If you have an old broom, please bring it.
The official unveiling of the Ohio Birds Mural is planned for July 14 during the Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Glen Echo Park.
If you’d like to know more about the artist, follow Clint Davidson on Twitter at @cdavidsonart. Find out more about ALTernative and Tim Lai ArchitecT at laiarchitect.com. Photos and mockups courtesy ALTernative.