By Ben Dickison, Sports Editor
Over the summer, Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine gained a new mural paying homage to the LGBTQ+ community of the 513.
The mural was organized by Cincinnati Pride, the art-based nonprofit ArtWorks, Procter & Gamble and the City of Cincinnati’s Career Pathways Initiative. The design was created by Matthew Dayler, a Greater Cincinnati queer artist who works on behalf of Chroma Projects and holds the role of assistant art professor at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.
The dedication of the mural, titled “Love Wins,” was marked by a ceremony at Queen City Radio, a bar located just a door down from the mural, on West 12th street.
In addition to its location just adjacent to FC Cincinnati’s TQL Stadium, the mural is visible from an elevated surface, looking out over Queen City Radio. Senior Associate Director of Student Involvement Dustin Lewis, now in his thirteenth year at Xavier, is currently the Director of Programming at Cincinnati Pride. He was one of the members who spent a day painting the mural.
Lewis explained the choice for location.
“Some other companies we approached were concerned that an LGBTQ+ focused mural could attract defacing. We at Pride were seeking somewhere that had an elevated space for that reason exactly,” Lewis said.
There have been multiple instances of defacing various murals in the surrounding area of “Love Wins’’ within the last half-century.
Lewis praised ArtWorks for their ability to pinpoint a location that serves as a beacon of welcome for members of the LGBTQ+ community living in and visiting the city.
“ArtWorks does a great job of tracking down raw spaces, who owns deeds (on the property)… and then presenting them with their perspectives,” he said.
While multiple instances of vandalism on ArtWorks projects have occurred since 2019 and some businesses have been resistant to housing murals celebrating marginalized communities, organizations such as Kroger, Procter & Gamble, Great American and Fifth-Third Bank are “motivated to contribute back to the community,” said Lewis.
Through private donations and grants, these organizations have contributed to the rectification of other murals celebrating Cincinnati’s diversity, such as with murals honoring the Black Lives Matter movement.
The project was conducted by ArtWorks’ teaching artists Daniel Baker and Orion Inéz. Baker and Inéz worked with 12 ArtWorks apprentices, Cincinnati Pride members and 20 ArtWorks-trained Procter & Gamble employees to paint the mural. Lewis encourages Xavier students to seize similar opportunities.
“Whether you are an art major or not, these opportunities are open to everyone,” Lewis said. “I strongly encourage Xavier to help expand Cincinnati’s art spaces.”
There is a student ArtWorks mural already standing on campus, located directly next to Hailstones Hall, depicting a multicolored tree. Lewis hinted that there is interest from the Art Department and Student Government Association in adding another mural to campus, and potential locations are being explored.
Senior nursing major and member of Cincinnati’s LGBTQ+ community Garrett Cooper lauded the mural and what it meant to him. “With a rich history and a growing LGBTQ+ community, seeing a large statement serving as a visual representation of the budding community in Cincinnati is important not only to me, but important to the recognition of our community and our place in this city,” Cooper said.