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First Graffiti Artists Respond to Covington's Call on Licking River Trail

The Licking River Greenway & Trails asked for graffiti artists to share their work on a specific canvas, and the call was answered.

The River City News reported in December that after multiple locations along the trails were being tagged, the folks at Vision 2015 and the City of Covington designated a certain area for graffiti artists to cover.

The first artwork comes with a polite "thank you" to Covington.

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The Licking River Greenway & Trails saw its first professional mural project completed in 2012 and another phase completed over the summer in 2013, but in recent months more unsolicited artwork began to pop up.
“Creative individuals are inspired in all types of ways and express their art in manners that aren’t always in line with the standard submittal processes we developed for this project,” said Kristine Frech, Manager of The Licking River Greenway and Trails Project for Vision 2015. “We could have painted over the unsolicited artwork and continued to keep that side of the mural blank, but instead we want to embrace community members who want their art to be seen. So, we redesigned the blank walls to be used for street art.”
The wall now reads: “hey you/give us/Covington/NKY/the world/your art/this is your canvas/this is your gallery/speak to us”
Community members can now draw, write, and craft what “Art is….” to them directly on the mural walls.
Cities across the country have used murals as a deterrent to unwanted graffiti. In Denver, volunteers are provided paint and supplies to go out monthly and paint murals where graffiti once was. In Tacoma, Washington, the murals are designed to help build neighborhood identities while reducing tagging. The City of Philadelphia’s mural program is a city-wide initiative to eradicate graffiti and address neighborhood blight.
“In Covington, we are eager to build off of the work that communities have been doing and are excited to put our own spin on it,” said Natalie Gardner, special projects and strategic programs manager for the City of Covington.
The professional artwork will ideally be less of a target to vandalism.
“The murals added a new element of beauty to the already picturesque greenway and knowing that local artists, some of them students, painted these made them a source of pride for me, “ said Russell Staubach, a frequent user of the trails in Covington.
About the trails:
The Licking River Master Plan, commissioned by Vision 2015 in 2008, proposes to establish a continuous green corridor in the Licking River valley adjacent to the communities of Newport, Covington, Wilder, and Taylor Mill, Kentucky. The Greenway plan calls for the stabilization of the riverbanks, the removal of invasive species and the restoration of native plants, trees, and wildlife in the riparian corridor. In addition to the Greenway, the 5-mile corridor, between the confluence with the Ohio River and the I-275 overpass, includes plans for establishing a multi-level trail system that connects neighborhoods with historical, educational, and cultural institutions and recreational facilities. The proposed trail system provides for nature trails, paved trails and water trails.
The City of Wilder has recently broken ground on their portion of paved trails leading from the Wilder City Building to Fredricks Landing. 
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Photos provided by Jim Guthrie
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