Exploring NKY’s river cities leads to unexpected discoveries—quirky little shops, intriguing restaurants, lovely parks and larger-than-life art. The old brick buildings of the cities of Covington, Newport and Bellevue are like blank canvasses, just waiting to be turned into eye-catching works of art.
The Public Arts Network of NKY has been cataloging the murals, statues and historic architecture, turning them into self-guided tours on the www.NKYArtTours.com
website. Each piece has a story behind it and visitors to the site can use the interactive maps to find them.
The stories can be tragic, inspiring and even spooky. The Riverside Drive Statue Tour includes the likeness of Captain Mary B. Greene, the first woman to become a licensed riverboat captain along the Ohio River. She died onboard one of her boats at the age of 79. Since then, her ghost has been seen numerous times and has been credited with saving the boat from mechanical failure and orchestrating a meeting between two people who later married.
The eighteen murals on the Riverfront Flood Wall Mural Tour can be seen from Cincinnati and represent the rich history of the area from 8000 BC to 2008 AD. The Flight of the Garner Family depicts the daring escape of the Garners, who were slaves from Kentucky. The winter of 1856 was the coldest in 60 years and the Ohio River froze, providing a treacherous nighttime route for the family. They were all later recaptured and their fight for freedom and the tragedies that followed have inspired poems and paintings, as well as the book and movie, “Beloved”.
The Central Business District Tour features one of the most visible murals in Covington, nicknamed the Space Dog. It is painted on the north side of the Boone Block, an 1890’s mixed use building that originally housed an attorney’s office. In 2012, an international group of artists known as The London Police painted one of their cheery dog figures, called as “lads”, to liven up the old liquor store that was there at the time.
In 2016, the Boone Block was redeveloped into six stylish attached single family homes. The London Police returned to Covington and completed the light-hearted mural. They included a number of fun details, such as the man peeking out of the dog spaceship. He is Mike Amann, an artist and designer who first convinced The London Police to come to Covington.
In 2018, the framework for a living wall was installed on the bottom part of the mural. Plants have been growing in this vertical garden ever since. The combination of mural and living wall is unusual, making this one of the country’s only Living Murals.
Discover many other stories like these, along with exciting original art, as you explore the urban neighborhoods of the river cities. www.NKYArtTours.com can show you the way.
This article was posted to the meetNKY Blog with permission from EverythingCincy. Visit EverythingCincy today to learn more about everything Cincy & NKY have to offer.