Students at Jones Leadership Academy have been busy after school, painting colorful murals that are being used to dress up abandoned buildings in Toledo.

The latest project they are involved in is doing a temporary artistic board-up of the Art Tatum birthplace at 1121 City Park. With support from Mr. Tatum's niece, Lucille Johnson, (the current owner of the property), the mural painted by the students will be in place until a decision is made about the next phase for this structure's revitalization, according to The Arts Commission.

One goal of the project is to spark ideas about the future of this Toledo site.

Members of the Student Leaders in Action at the Leadership Academy's YMCA program worked with mural artist Maura Amato and Victoria Stegner on the project. The students, whose school is not that far from the former home of Mr. Tatum, created a complex, colorful design, inspired by what they learned of Mr. Tatum's history and that of the surrounding neighborhood. Residents participated in the design process and painting of the boards through partnerships with the Junction Coalition and the Frederick Douglass Center.

Work has recently been completed on the mural and the boards will be installed on the building in the coming weeks.

The Arts Commission’s Creative Placemaking team - working in partnership with the Lucas County Land Bank - will continue this program of artistic
board-ups of vacant, blighted houses. The goal of each of the projects is to spark meaningful conversations between residents and artists with the ultimate goal being raising up neighborhoods through artistic opportunities.

For additional information on The Arts Commission’s Creative Placemaking projects, visit
Funding for this project comes from the Ohio Arts Council and Toledo LISC.

Posted on May 22, 2017