There is this open area in Downtown Mantua where the old hardware store burned down years ago, it is referred to by locals as “The Hole”. As I was passing “The Hole” a few weeks ago, Brock Benner was surveying the progress of a project. We struck up a conversation about it, he shared that they are turning it into a new green space in order to encourage more community gatherings and support the local businesses.
I observed the construction zone starting at the Small Town Nutrition side then panning across the uneven dirt to the K&K Meat shop wall. I was trying to imagine his vision, then as soon as my eyes hit the K&K Meat shop wall I said, “that would be a great wall for a mural! Don’t you agree?” Brock chuckled and replied, “That’s what my mom always says.”
That afternoon, Fivefivephotos contacted Edie Benner, Brock’s mom and the President of the Downtown Mantua Revitalization Committee. We shared with Edie that we agree the wall needs a mural and already have ideas for a design. She gave us the green light to send her a sketch.
This is when the design process really started. Taking the creative lead on the project, I knew I wanted a silhouette and a message. But of what?
To answer these questions I first started researching the history of Mantua, Ohio and found a few very interesting facts:
Mantua, Ohio is a trail town located right on the Cuyahoga River.
Mantua, Ohio was the first town settled in Portage County.
Portage County was named such because of a well known Indian portaging path connecting the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas Rivers.
Mantua, Ohio recently became a trail town.