Public Art in Kent
Find Your Path by Eileen Dorsey
Eileen Dorsey studied fine art at Kent State University under Charles Basham, who left a lasting impression on her work, culminating in a joint exhibition at the Massillon Museum of Art. She won Cleveland Scene’s Best Artist in 2020 and 2018, and Cleveland Magazine’s Best Artist in 2021, 2020 and 2019. Her artist statement about this mural reads:
Walking around the downtown area, it’s easy to see that Kent has an appreciation for nature. There is a beautiful Portage Hike and Bike trail right around the corner from the mural. There are public art pieces in the downtown area that are also nature inspired. Being a graduate of KSU, I felt right at home. I am thrilled to add my signature style to the city. Why trees? I have always felt a deep appreciation for nature while walking through the woods near my home. The colors, the sounds, the smells, they all change once you immerse yourself in a forest, it’s like being in another world. I suppose, I was drawn to this. The more I explored, the more I would notice. I would see the sun light flicker through the leaves. The shadows the trees would cast on the ground, sometimes they appeared blue, sometimes red. When I looked onto the trees, I would see the reflections of the colors around them. These once brown barked trees seem blue and purple. I was hooked. I took these experiences and brought them back to the studio. I have been focusing on creating work that opens the eyes of the viewer to see their world in a more colorful way. Because the park is so close, I didn’t want to exactly mimic nature, so I painted this in a slightly different way than my studio work. I used broad flat shapes to describe bunches of leaves. I drew with spray paints and used its marks to create the illusion of grass and rolling hills. The mural is all spray paint, with the exception of the squirrels, those are painted with latex paint. I hid 3 black squirrels (in purple) in the mural ☺
The meaning behind the title. Find your path refers to the young people who are starting their futures. It also hints toward an actual path, perhaps in the woods, or along the river trail just around the corner.
KENT by Sean Mercer & Taryn McMahon
Main Street Kent has installed a new KENT public art piece on N. Water St. in downtown Kent, just before the Fairchild bridge. A dream project of the Main Street Kent design committee, members Alex Catanese and Lesley Sickle took the reins and brought this project to life. Partnering with Each + Every design studio in Kent, the team worked with local artist Sean Mercer to design and fabricate the structure and artist Taryn McMahon to design the graphics displayed inside the letters of the structure. A grant was secured from Ohio Arts Council to help pay for the project, Each + Every provided in-kind support as well as a substantial donation, and Main Street Kent utilized funds from recent fundraisers including the “Something’s Got to GIVE” art show hosted last summer at Troppus Projects. Visitors to the structure are encouraged to share pictures on social media using the hashtag #kentohart and to take a self-guided walking tour of the other public art attractions in Kent by visiting mainstreetkent.org/walking-tours
Marvin Kent by Maya Culley
Artist Maya Culley painted a gorgeous mural in the alleyway between the Woodsy’s and Skullz Salon buildings. Culley’s concept was to combine some of her favorite aspects of Kent, a mixture of city and nature. Visuals of figures and geometric shapes were used to represent the city, while plants such as the milkweed flower found in the Kent bog were used to represent nature. She also used the bog as inspiration for the abstract images on the doorways. Culley also focused on the theme of “new Kent vs. old Kent”. She referenced Kent’s rich history with the image of Marvin Kent while adding modern colors and organic shapes to relate to the current growth of the city.
“My sister read about this project in the newspaper and brought it to my attention. I was very excited and began the process by sketching out several designs in my notebook along with a color pallet. Then I took a few high quality photographs of the alley. Using an editing program, I drew over the images with my Wacom drawing tablet. We matched paint colors mostly by eye, comparing them to my original design. We used a projector in the evenings to draw some of the elements. Other sections were done with masking tape or drawn free-hand. I had an unfortunate slip and broke my foot mid-project so I am grateful for the extra help and support to complete the project. My family has lived in Kent all my life and I would love to leave my mark. I had a lot of fun creating my concept and I hope you enjoy it too!”
Artist Maya Culley’s concept was to combine some of her favorite aspects of Kent, one being the mixture of city and nature. Visuals of figures and geometric shapes were used to represent the city while plants such as the milkweed flower found in the Kent bog to represent nature. She also used the bog as inspiration for the abstract images on the doorways. Culley also focused on the theme of “new Kent vs. old Kent”. She referenced Kent’s rich history with the image of Marvin Kent while adding modern colors and organic shapes to relate to the current growth of the city.
Lake Cities Train
Henry Van ’t hooft, a 17 year old Boy Scout from Troop 177 in Stow, worked with Main Street Kent to complete his eagle scout project in 2013. This beautiful mural now adorns the alley on South Water Street – better known as Burbick Way. It features a 10-foot-by-25 foot mural of an iconic image of a passenger train arriving at the Erie Depot some 50 years ago.
The mural titled Love, designed by Edwin George, resides on the side of Scribbles Coffee Co. on N. Water St. This project was sponsored by Standing Rock Cultural Arts, directed by Crystal Birns and painted by community volunteers in 2005.
This mural depicts a strong female who represents the stage of empowerment for victims of crime. The vignettes on either side of her depict various stages of loss, suffering and, ultimately, healing and strength. All of this is enclosed within a mandala which signifies the circle of life. Outside of the mandala, various Kent landmarks portray a community rich in history. It is our hope that this mural transcends Kent as a place and symbolizes any community worldwide where the human spirit triumphs and love does prevail.
Designed, painted and donated by:
The Arts Alive! Program of Family & Community Services, Inc., 2009 and hangs on the side of the Townhall II building on N. Water St.
Joe Walsh Mural
The “Welcome To Kent” Joe Walsh Mural is located on the side of the Water Street Tavern building. Designed and hand painted by KSU alumnus Scot Phillips, this mural pays tribute to the City Of Kent’s rich musical history.
Haymaker Farmers’ Market Mural
Elaine Hullihen was the creator & project manager.
The mural was completed by Hullihen, members of the community, art students, and vendors from the farmers’ market. Located on Franklin Ave., this mural is a great example of using public art to express our community values — in this case tapping into Kent’s green roots and cheerleading for locally grown fresh food.
Traveling Stanza Poetry Boxes
We worked alongside Each+Every, Wick Poetry Center and the City of Kent to adapt Traveling Stanzas illustrations to fit on utility boxes and kiosks around Kent, with the goal of bringing poetry into the public consciousness. Accompanying the illustrations are audio devices which play the authors reciting their poems.
Each+Every also developed a web app that allows people to navigate to the boxes, read the poems, view the original art, and listen to the poets read their pieces!
The River Stanzas project, an evolution of the award-winning Traveling Stanzas project, the Wick Poetry Center examined and gave voice to the many ways the river can sustain us creatively and teach us about our connection to the environment and our community. In June 2019 our community celebrated the 50th anniversary of our river’s rebirth. From crisis, we had the opportunity to celebrate the success through poetry, art, and design, showcasing our community’s vibrancy—its riverbanks and bike trails, its hiking paths and streetscapes, and rise to the challenge of conveying what we’ve learned to the stewards of the next generation.
This bronze sculpture is located at the corner of Erie St. and Route 59 and was designed by local artist George Danhires. “The intention of (the monument) is to show veterans that we appreciate their service,” Danhires said. “This sculpture indicates a value this community has.” He designed the monument to represent all types of American veterans through three figures. The sculpture features female, African-American and disabled veterans to “indicate that everyone who served is being appreciated,” Danhires said.
Located between The Historic Train Depot & gazebo on Franklin Ave., the images coming forth from this bronze relief sculpture survey Kent’s history from the Native Americans, to early settlers, the Underground Railroad, to John Brown, John Davey, to a city revolving around information and technology. Also created by local artist George Danhires.
Mill District Mural
Standing Rock Cultural Arts is happy to announce another completed mural for downtown Kent. After a year and half of planning, the design by Emily Anne Buckingham has been painted on the south wall of the building that houses the SRCA Art Center, 300 N. Water St, across from the Bent Tree Coffee shop. The mural highlights the newly formed Mill District and pays tribute to the long history of art and music that has been celebrated on North Water Street. Please visit www.standingrock.net to learn more about the nonprofit art and educational activities of Standing Rock Cultural Arts.
Designed by Each + Every and Kelly Dietrick of Troppus Projects, this mural resides on the back of Hall-Green Agency on N. Depeyster St. Stage one of the mural is complete with large, graphic, abstracted flower forms in turquoise, yellow and gray painted by Kelly Dietrick with large text “GROW” among the flowers. The community participated in creating flowers as well with take-home kits to create unique flower designs that were incorporated in the final composition.
Squirrel with an Attitude
This 6 foot tall, 200 lb. squirrel sculpture was commissioned for Acorn Alley II in 2011. Ron Burbick worked with New Hampshire artist James Taylor to create this centerpiece for Acorn Plaza. Squirrel is made entirely of recycled metal parts. A shovel was used for its head, an old tractor seat for its tail and trailer-hitch balls became eyes. The frame of an old dirt bike holds it all together. The sculpture complements the already abundant squirrel theme present in the Acorn Alley development.