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Dayton man accused of trying to join ISIS in Syria

6 Hamilton parks to get nature-themed murals


More birds will be appearing in Hamilton parks this summer.

Murals depicting birds native to Ohio will be painted in six Hamilton parks as an extension of a 2015 project that installed brightly-colored art outside the Hamilton Parks Conservancy office in downtown.

“The first phase of this project is to create bird murals on six parks buildings during the summer of 2017,” said Jenn Acus-Smith, who is the lead artist and mural designer. “There are possible future opportunities for interactive programming, such as a family scavenger hunt and learning opportunities about Ohio wildlife.”

Joyce Park, Millikin Woods, Jim Grimm Park, North End Park, Veterans Park and Crawford Woods will all get bird murals this summer.

MORE: Hamilton murals program to be bigger in 2017

The locations were chosen based on their visibility to visitors and passing motorists, according to Acus-Smith.

The bright colors and bold designs will enhance buildings, welcoming visitors and creating a strong visual branding tool for the Hamilton Parks Conservancy, she said.

Since its launch in January 2015, the nonprofit Hamilton Parks Conservancy has made several improvements and added amenities to more than 1,300 acres of city park property.

Under a management agreement with the city, the conservancy is also responsible for all parks-related activities, including maintenance and programs. A volunteer board oversees the conservancy, which operates on an annual budget of just over $1 million that comes from a variety of sources.

RELATED: Hamilton Parks Conservancy plans more projects

City Manager Joshua Smith said the work done by the Parks Conservancy has been a “game changer” for the city.

“Our parks are cleaner, safer, and better maintained than they have ever been,” he said. “The mural that was painted on the Parks Conservancy office downtown is a reflection of the vibrancy of our entire parks system, and I am excited to see additional murals completed in other parks throughout the city.”

The effort may also encourage Hamilton residents to visit new parks, rather than just those they are familiar with in their own neighborhoods, Acus-Smith said.

Budding artists will be tapped to create the new murals.

“I plan to work with both local and student artists from area universities, providing training and valuable experience throughout the artistic process,” Acus-Smith, who also oversees the city’s StreetSpark program, said.

“The creative and interactive qualities of this project will encourage fun, family-friendly experiences and an appreciation for public art in the community,” she explained. “Further, providing jobs to student and local artists will help them gain valuable, marketable skills and encourage artists to live, work and play in Hamilton.”

Anyone who would like to participate in the mural creation has until April 28 to sign up at Hamilton Parks Conservancy, 106 N. 2nd St.

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