Collaboration could create two big murals in downtown Oberlin

By Valerie Urbanik -

Two murals may be installed on the sides of buildings around Oberlin.

Councilwoman Sharon Soucy and Oberlin College senior Eli Steiker-Ginzberg have partnered after meeting last year at the college’s Friendship Day. Both expressed interest in creating more murals in the downtown area.

Soucy wants a mural that highlights the Tuskegee Airmen and Steiker-Ginzberg wants one that symbolizes peace and friendship between the college and Oberlin residents.

“It’s ultimately about friendship and building better relations with individuals in this community,” Steiker-Ginzberg said. “I’m really trying to engage the community.”

The two are meeting with college students, Oberlin public school students, Firelands Association of the Visual Arts representatives, and local artists in creating a design for the pieces.

What buildings the murals will go on is yet to be determined but Soucy and Steiker-Ginzberg have talked to several property owners downtown. The duo hopes to have sites and designs chosen by early 2016.

Steiker-Ginzberg is hoping to have his friendship mural installed on the side of Oberlin’s old city hall on South Main Street because the city’s recreation department is in the building and it’s by the farmer’s market.

“I think that’s an appropriate site,” he said.

The senior college student is from Philadelphia and has been interested and involved in murals since he was an adolescent.

“I’ve worked on a few murals in Philadelphia and I’ve done research on murals in foreign countries,” Steiker-Ginzberg said, adding that Oberlin has so many artist and a strong history that there should be more murals.

Soucy said she has been interested in public art for a long time and has been inspired by the works artist Mike Sekletar has installed to the north in neighboring Amherst’s municipal lot.

Steiker-Ginzberg said he hopes a mural committee will be established and that more art will be installed downtown even after he graduates.

“Even if I can help guide that a little bit, I think that’s a pretty good legacy to leave,” he said.

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.

By Valerie Urbanik