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International Artist Adds Work to Licking River Trails

“art is…” was launched in January 2014 along the side of a gatewell structure on the Licking River Greenway and Trails. The idea was to embrace graffiti art on a structure that had been tagged multiple times. Instead of repeatedly clearing graffiti off of the structure, “art is…” challenges artists to not just leave behind their name, but something meaningful to the community.
The news of the “art is…” project grew beyond the region. Austrian street artist, Nino Werner, caught wind of the initiative when planning a trip to visit friends in Cincinnati. Werner reached out to Vision 2015 to find out how he could contribute to during his short stay in the region.
“The project’s missions and goals motivated me to get involved," Werner said. "I love that Vision 2015 and the City of Covington encourage young, aspiring artists to contribute their talents by making colorful murals and by creating a more vibrant community overall. The capital of Austria, Vienna, dealt with graffiti in a similar way. Today, there are thousands of tourists and localswalking, running, and biking down the Danube channel to experience these amazing works of art. The greatest part is that the graffiti there is legal and appreciated by all classes of people. By allowing both local and nonlocal artists paint and express themselves, a city can rejuvenate and spark artistic awareness. If Covington continues to follow the artistic path, Covington too could become a creative hotspot, where community gathers and experiences together.”
Werner, with the help of Cincinnati native, Crosley Brammer, completed his contribution to “art is…” last weekend. The image can be found along the riverbank on the Licking River Greenway Trails behind Austinburg Park. While painting, Werner and Brammer noticed the diversity of trail users, including children.
“I hope that we inspire them to pick up some colorful paints and pencils instead of watching television. Who knows, maybe one of those kids will paint a mural in the future,” said Werner.
Werner designed the mural to respond to the structure it was painted on and its surrounding area.
In the mural, a red cardinal sits on the foot of a wooden puppet boy, telling a story about the wonders of nature and the real world beyond the box he resides. 
“This goes further into expressing the idea that even though life is continuously changing and in constant motion, there is always something beautiful to see and spend energy on," Werner said.
Werner recently traveled back to Austria and looks forward to future trips to Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and to additional opportunities to share his talent.
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.
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.
Photos provided
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