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"Living Mural" Serves as Tribute, Creates Vibrant Street Scene

The mural on the north side of the Boone Block building in Covington now has a special designation.

The addition of lush greenery, defined as a living wall, makes the image the Midwest's first outdoor living mural, according to a news release from the Catalytic Fund.

The mural, created by the London Police and unveiled in 2016 with the famed artists in attendance, was the brainchild of Mike Amann, one of Northern Kentucky's River Cities' pioneering street art advocates. 

He died of cancer in 2013 at the age of 33. 

Before he passed, Amann brought the London Police to town multiple times and they left celebrated images of their trademark dog and other characters all over the city.

The Boone Block mural, located at 4th Street and Scott Boulevard on the side of a redeveloped historic building that now houses luxury townhomes, was created as a tribute to Amann. The founder of Covington's BLDG is memorialized in the piece of art, peeking from the featured spaceship that shows a parade of London Police characters descending.

The artists also planned ahead and left the bottom section of the mural a solid green color to accommodate a future installation of plants.

Urban Blooms, a Cincinnati-based company specializing in living walls, recently completed the vision, installing a custom-fabricated planting system.

“The goal was to provide the community with an attractive, year-round installation that changed with the seasons, featuring a mixture of evergreens, grasses, perennial flowers, and herbs,” said Tyler Wolf, executive director of Urban Blooms. 

The Boone Block, a signature project of Covington-based Orleans Development and the Catalytic Fund, sold quickly. Joy Amann, an agent with Huff Realty, co-listed the units.

She is Mike Amann's mother.

“The most exciting part is that the initiative could become a prototype to combine public art within the context of a vertical park to engage and benefit the whole community,” Joy Amann said.

She called the project “epic and cosmic” and points out that the location is already a popular site for photos, tour stops, and academic field trips.

The Living Mural was made possible through a partnership led by the Catalytic Fund including Orleans Development, Project Reinvest, the Boone Block Homeowner’s Association, Urban Blooms, The London Police, and BLDG.  

For Tony Kreutzjans, founder of Orleans Development, the living mural offered an opportunity for green space in an urban environment surrounded by concrete. He said the project softened the area without taking up valuable real estate.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photos provided