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We Are Cincinnati: Artist showcases ordinary people using spray paint

Artist showcases ordinary people using spray paint (WKRC)

WALNUT HILLS, Ohio (WKRC) - A street art project is taking shape in Walnut Hills and the artist is creating his mural in an unconventional way.

Using a spray can and a creative mind, Benjamin Thomas is creating a masterpiece with a message. He’s transforming a wall in the parking lot of the Parkside Café.


“90 percent of what I do is freehand, I use edges and stuff and periodically stencils. But mainly just cans and hands," said Thomas.

Ben is passionate about his work and hopes the mural, which you can see from on East McMillian Street, inspire everyone who sees it.

“I want them to be like what is this and who are these people. Because that’s exactly what I’m trying to do," said Thomas.

He was one of the artists commissioned by the Walnut Hills Development Foundation to create a work of art that helps to connect residents.

Aprina Johnson said they’ve seen a lot of new development and that is good but longtime residents are feeling a racial divide.

“Segregation is effecting many families in the community. So the artists came up with projects. Ben’s mural takes people in the community and edifies them, puts them on high. And says hey you are Walnut Hills. Let’s put your story out there," said Johnson.

George Smith, who is featured on the wall, has a story. He played semi-pro baseball years ago and proudly calls Walnut Hills home. George wants to make a difference by starting a youth baseball league.

“I’m tired of sending kids out here selling drugs, stuff like that. I want to show them there’s a better life, better life out there and they can go onto college," said George.

George is trying to do good and so are the three other people on the wall. Leonard and Shawn Jackson walk the streets each morning picking up trash. Brenae Ivory is a young woman with a dream to be something. They are walnut hills.

The mural will have a hashtag 'we are walnut hills'. You can go on social media and learn more about the art project plus look up the stories of the faces. Weather permitting Thomas hopes to have this done by October.

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