By Christine Bryant
A local grassroots organization is seeking an artist to be part of a project that is changing the landscape of the Hilltop.
During the past few years, Summer Jam West has commissioned a handful of major pieces of art in the community – a 14-foot stainless steel monarch butterfly called “On the Wings of Change” by artist Rachel Pace in 2015, and an 80-foot mural called “Fantastic Food Garden” by artist Danielle Poling this year.
The organization, which is a grassroots music and arts festival, has also acquired Brian Marcus’s painting called “Azcend,” an 8-foot-by-4-foot psychedelic staircase painted on plywood, that will be installed on Cream & Sugar, 2185 Sullivant Ave., by the end of November.
Now the group is seeking an artist to paint a 90-foot cement wall alongside the new Camp Chase multi-use trail, said Patti Von Niessen, executive director of Summer Jam West.
“We’re still pretty young, but we think of ourselves as so much more than a one-day music and arts festival,” she said. “We think of ourselves as a Tour de Force art movement on the Hilltop.”
The group calls this movement “For the Common Good” because members believe art should be free and available to everyone, she said.
The current project seeks an artist to paint a 90-foot-by-13-foot cement block on a building owned by Don Dick just east of North Sylvan Avenue.
A longtime business and property owner on the Westside, Dick says one of his goals has been to bring new opportunities and benefits to the area.
“This particular building needed lots of TLC and a new tenant mix,” he said. “As an idle building, it was attracting graffiti artists and vandals.”
With the recent extension of the Camp Chase Trail and the new life of the building, he said it was fitting that the building’s exterior become an artist’s palette to compliment the trail.
“I am excited and confident that the project will provide another lasting work of art for the entire city to enjoy,” Dick said.
Von Niessen said the space is perfect because it is publicly visible to anyone.
“We want it large because we want to make a statement of bringing art to the Hilltop,” she said.
Those interested in completing the mural must fill out an application through the organization’s website by Nov. 30. The group will then name the chosen artist in December and require that the mural be complete by end of June 2017.
The mural must acknowledge in some way Summer Jam’s 2017 theme of “Movin’ & Groovin.’” Other criteria is listed on the organization’s website as well.
Von Niessen said the organization’s members are excited the Hilltop is becoming known for its artistic qualities. The group has even merged technology with art in an effort to reach out to more residents and visitors.
“We’ve recently announced that we’ll be placing a Quick Read code at each installation so that the tech savvy public can scan the code and read details about what they’re viewing,” she said.
The next Summer Jam West will take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 8 in Westgate Park.
For more information about the festival or the mural project, go to summerjamwest.org.