Black Kite’s ‘Collingwood Canopy’ mural to be celebrated July 13Written by Danielle Stanton | | firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITOR’S NOTE: The date of the unveiling has been changed from July 6 to July 13 due to a death in the community.
Ever since Black Kite Coffee on Collingwood Boulevard opened in July 2012, owner Kristin Kiser said its southern wall “screamed” for public art. The need for a mural was even written into the building’s rental contract, she said.
Thanks to the efforts of Art Corner Toledo (ACT) and several other partnering organizations, artist Matt Taylor — who also painted the “Toledo Loves Love” mural organized by ACT — painted the side of Kiser’s building into a tribute to the Old West End neighborhood.
“My husband (Andrew Newby) and I have a handful of passions and one of them is public art,” Kiser said. “This [mural] makes a huge impact on the neighborhood. And the fact that the artist designed the entire thing to be based on the Old West End, that’s significant for the whole city.”
The mural, “Collingwood Canopy,” which is 32 feet wide and 55 feet tall, pays tribute to the Old West End neighborhood, including a shoutout to Robert Brundage, a neighborhood activist who was killed by an attacker while riding his bike through the neighborhood. One panel of the mural features Honey Locusts trees, which once lined Collingwood Boulevard before they were cut down by the city. Another panel shows a Victorian house and wrought iron gate.
The community is invited to attend an official unveiling ceremony from 3-5 p.m. July 13 at Black Kite Coffee, 2499 Collingwood Blvd.
“I wasn’t a close friend to Dr. Brundage, but I did remember him riding around and being active in the community,” said Taylor, who goes by Mr. Taylor. “[ACT founder] Rachel [Richardson] had given me some clues on what she’d like to include and why they related to Dr. Brundage. But it was a call to the neighborhood itself and that street of Collingwood. Scott High School was referenced. You can see the bell at the very top. I almost feel like I want to make a guide book or an image at the end to show what is in there. I will probably get around to that.”
Kiser said she knew she wanted art on that wall of the building when Richardson came to her and said, “Let’s do it.” ACT is a nonprofit organization that coordinates public art projects.
“I’m totally moved by it,” Richardson said. “It’s a very special thing when a mural is complete, and it’s a very powerful thing. I consider these [murals] to be my kids.”
Richardson pulled in the Old West End Association, which donated $750, and Toledo.com, which organized a Crowdtilt fundraiser, raising about $1,500. She also gathered support from The Home Depot, Sunbelt Rentals, Art Supply Depo and individual donors.
Toledo City Councilwoman Lindsay Webb gave her personal support with a private donation, Richardson said.
In total, the project raised $4,000, she said.
“I’m happy with it and happy to support anything that brings positivity to the neighborhood,” said Amanda Lyons, Old West End Association president.
John Eikost, Toledo.com editor and board member of The Arts Commission, wasn’t surprised that Toledo residents responded fast and hard to the Crowdtilt campaign, a form of online fundraising.
“I feel like the creative community in Toledo is stronger than it’s ever been,” he said. “You know there so much talk of blight and Rust Belt decay and I felt confident that Toledo would step up and support this type of artistic expression.”
The trees displayed in the mural refer to the Honey Locust trees that lined both sides of Collingwood. The city removed dozens of the trees between Islington and Monroe streets last year. The city said the trees had to come down because their root system would have been destroyed by a water project the city was conducting as part of a revamp of the street.
The city has promised to replant 89 trees within a year of the project’s completion. The street is currently under construction. Critics have said it will take decades for those trees to grow enough to have full canopies over the street.
Meanwhile, Old West End residents and Toledoans across the city will be able to appreciate the trees by the new mural, Richardson said.
Tags: ACT, Amanda Lyons, Andrew Newby, Art Corner Toledo, Art Supply Depo, Black Kite Coffee, Collingwood Canopy, Honey Locust, John Eikost, Kristin Kiser, Lindsay Webb, Matt Taylor, Mr. Taylor, mural, Old West End, Old West End Association, Rachel Richardson, Robert Brundage, Sunbelt Rentals, The Home Depot, Toledo, Toledo.com