Hello everyone. This is our first post of OTR 8.0. Our plan for this trip is to travel throughout the Southeast. We spent several several days in Knoxville and Chattanoogaduring our first two weeksof the journey; neither of us had visited either city previously.
Both cities have a strong commitment to street art and we are excited to share our favorite murals from our tours.
Whenever we have been able to identify the muralist(s), we have included their information in the caption.
Many of the murals from Knox featured in this post are located in Strong Alley, downtown. The alley is known locally as graffitti alley.
We only spent a couple of days in Chattanooga but we were able to capture a number of murals that, fortunately for us, are clustered in the Southside neighborhoodand on Mccallie Street as part of the Mccallie Walls Mural Project.
We plan on publishing another edition of Street Art from the Road later in the trip. We hope you enjoyed the photographs of the murals.You can see additional murals @ctsprinterlife.
Regular followers of OTR know that, in addition to fine art and excellent coffee and tea, we are avid fans of street art (@streetartfromtheroad). This edition of OTR 7.0 presents a sampling of our favorite street murals from this trip. Some of the murals below we found purely by chance while others we sought out based on our research of public art in a particular area, town or neighborhood.
We should qualify that our focus is on street murals as opposed to graffiti or tagging. Marking public or private property is really a subversive activity and while we have our subversive moments, we do not support the defacing of public or private property. Okay, enough on that topic.
Street art is often very political and cultural in nature and at it’s best is powerful and moving. We also find that it is often highly creative, humorous and very often beautiful.
Please find below our favorites from OTR 7.0, we hope you enjoy the photographs. P.S. We have provided attribution wherever possible.
New Mexico: Taos
New Mexico: Plaza de Chimayo
New Mexico: Espanola
New Mexico: Santa Fe
Texas: Quitaque (kitty-k)
Texas: Amarillo: Hoodo Mural Festival
Historical footnote: the Greenwood District of Tulsa was the site of the Tulsa race massacre also known as the Tulsa race riot. In the early 1900’s this area of Tulsa was known as Black Wall Street due to the concentration of wealth in this largely black community.
On May 31, 1921 multiple mobs of armed white residents of Tulsa (deputized by city officials) attacked the residents of the area killing and injuring scores of people and destroying a 40 block area of the district. Thirty-six blacks were killed and over 800 were hospitalized.
Some accounts indicate that the massacre was triggered by the arrest of a black man for assaulting a white woman. Most historians agree that this event was more the result of a growing resentment in the white community of the financial success of ”Black Wall Street”.
We discovered the Franklinton Arts District (FAD) during our brief visit to Columbus last fall when we visited One Line Coffee. In addition to a terrific coffee experience at the cafe we found ourselves surrounded by amazing mural art everywhere we looked (or so it seemed). As a result we knew that we wanted to pay another visit to Columbus as we journeyed west on OTR 6.0 to take advantage of the excellent coffee and street art opportunities.
The FAD is not just a geographic district but also a non-profit organization http://www.franklintonartsdistrict.com/ created to support and advocate for artists and art organizations in the district.
The photographs above and below are just a small sample of some of the murals we saw during this visit. We have also included several more mural photos at the end of this post.
Our first rails to trails ride in Ohio was on the Heart of Ohio Trail (HOOT) and the Kokosing Gap Trail. We rode from the Centerburg Trailhead to the end of the HOOT in Mt Vernon and then continued on the Kokosing Gap Trail several more miles to Gambier where the trail runs through the Kenyon College Campus.
Our departure from Centerburg was delayed slightly by the arrival of two gentlemen who approached us to inquire about the Beast (not an uncommon occurrence). We are always happy to share our travels and provide a tour of the Beast and even more so because we found ourselves talking to two of the top specialty coffee people in the Columbus area.
Kenny had served as a youth pastor for a number of years before deciding to jump into the specialty coffee business while Frank had been in the industry working for one of the top specialty coffee organizations in Columbus.
After chatting about the Beast and some of our adventures Kenny and Frank graciously invited us to visit the roastery and the cafe the next morning. We said YES!!
Frank explains the operation of the Loring Roaster as he expertly roasts a batch of coffee.
We had a fantastic experience visiting the with Kenny and Frank and found out that they are more than just two really nice guys. Kenny started this business in order to help people in need and Frank signed on for the mission. The Roosevelt businesses are owned by the Roosevelt Foundation https://www.rooseveltcoffee.org/ and donate a portion of the money generated by the two businesses to organizations fighting against hunger, unclean water and human trafficking.
We are humbled to have had the opportunity to meet Kenny and Frank and learn first hand about the business and their mission. Thank you Kenny and Frank.
Alum Creek Trail
We took advantage of the fine weather on our last day in Columbus to bike the Alum Creek Trail. Although this trail runs through the city of Columbus it provides many miles of greenway as it meanders back and forth across the Alum Creek. This trail is a wonderful asset within a major metropolitan area as you feel transported to a much more rural environment. We encountered many deer along the route – some who seem perturbed by our desire to proceed on the trail!
Historically, Alum Creek was a key route in central Ohio for escaped slaves and free blacks to move north to free states and Canada. The sycamore trees which line the banks of the creek and the creek itself provided cover for the railroad’s “passengers” seeking freedom.
A key group in the operation of the Underground Railroad in central Ohio were the Quakers that created the safe haven known as Quakertown. The number of escaped slaves that came through on this route is not documented for obvious reasons but it is a credit to the abolitionists that risked their own safety to assist with this humanitarian initiative to right the horrible wrong of slavery.
Franklinton Arts District
Next stop Wisconsin to bicycle the Badger State Bike Trail and possibly eat cheese! Be seeing you!