As seen with the murals popping up across U.S. cities in the midst of urban revitalization, there is a new trend forming where mural design incorporates imagery from its surroundings, that in turn act to inform people of the city's new cultural identity. Some of these murals include the large, white bird painted on the side of a Baltimore, MD building, referring to its past restaurant occupants (fried chicken joint) via modern aesthetics, to the mural honoring the steel industry in Steubenville Ohio. Our Metamorphosis window mural in downtown Youngstown, OH, is designed to explore the city's difficult past opening up to a better future, in an honest depiction of the city's path. Just like other urban revitalization murals, Metamorphosis uses local urban and natural icons and symbols as a way of solidifying the current cultural belief about the city.
The mural design blends urban skyline of Youngstown with industrial steel scenes and technology integrated with nature to show the growth and change of the city from an industrial mecca to that of a technological and soon a cultural one. The mural is designed to span an entire city block, with each student responsible for a "piece" that integrates with the whole. The students involved are Brandi Takas, Bren Munroe, Rob Marlin, Kevin Buck, Paris Chrisopoulos, Blade Birch, with installation help from Cassondra Ohlin. Under the advisement of Charmaine Banach, the students individually designed each of their sections on the computer and then came together weekly for one semester to discuss how their parts integrated to tell an entire visual story. By borrowing images from one-another, the design flows seamlessly for passers-by, or from a greater distance across the street.
A special thanks to Jim Cossler from the Youngstown Business Incubator and John Slanina for their support and help throughout the project.
Images taken by Brandi Takas.