Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Toledo, Ohio, Rebirth From the Bottom Up

Toledo, Ohio, hard hit by the economic downtown but hanging on, is developing a sense of community and civic pride, thanks to citizens who are working from the bottom up.  Literally, the bottom up. A community garden. Artist and activist Rachel Richardson, the daughter of old friends who lived on Robinwood Avenue in the Old West End when our kids were little, is founder of Art Corner Toledo (ACT), a community garden project with many creative offshoots.

It all begins in the earth, and a fertile imagination.  ACT is bringing people together to plant seeds of change, nurture them, watch them grow.  This delicious mixture of art and activism is also providing food for the community and food for thought (see Julian Garcia, “A Boost of Murals: Art Corner Toledo turns activism into artistry in the Uptown District,” Toledo City Paper, August 22-September 4, 2012).    

ACT’s projects include a mural at Manos Community Garden, by artist Har Simrit-Singh, and Toledo Grows.  Another is the recently completed “Toledo Loves Love” mural (facebook/ACT  photo, above)  on the side of another old downtown/uptown building. The love mural was done by an artist named Mede who partnered with another artist called Mr. Taylor.  Turns out to be another delicious mixture, concocted by ACT. 

The wall is meant to promote marriage equality, and it does that and more.  Mede and Taylor took it to the next level: honoring the old and the new and the universal experience of love across boundaries.  

“The mural has really lit a fuse as other property owners in the Uptown District have requested murals for their buildings” (Garcia, City Paper).  More are coming, reports Garcia, including one by my photographer friend Robin Charney and  Lots to look forward to in downtown Toledo, and that’s 
saying something! 
Another new  mural, 3000 block of  Monroe St, by
artist Khalia Riley and others who work with ACT.
I love the representation of the community garden
and the bridge, and the colors. act facebook photo.  

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