Public art brochure guides visitors to hidden treasures of art community
By Emma Jarman
Yellow Springs is known for its rich art culture. You can see it in King’s Yard in the storefront window of Springs Gallery. You can hear it as the wind blows through the chimes you carry out of Yellow Springs Pottery. And you can taste it in the handcrafted brews at Peach’s Grill. But a little lesser known, although no less stimulating to the senses, is the marvelous collection of public art along the streets, alleyways and hidden away behind buildings.
Created mostly by local artists working closely with building and property owners, the public art of Yellow Springs can be found just about anywhere: around the village, along the bike path, on the south side.
About a year ago, Lisa Goldberg, an artist herself and member of the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce, began creating a brochure that would, one day, direct visitors and locals around Yellow Springs, pointing out all the locations where public art can be found. The brochure, in its current state, is hot off the press and can be found in various locations throughout Yellow Springs including the Chamber of Commerce and arts-related businesses and galleries.
“I feel like Yellow Springs is going through this really exciting growth in the arts scene. There are more artists putting themselves out there to help build upon the arts community. Some of that is public art,” Goldberg said.
She also related that most of the residents of Yellow Springs don’t know where the public art stands, much less visitors, which is why she felt it so important to create this brochure, which includes a map and information about all of the public art in Yellow Springs.
The map shows every, single piece of public art in Yellow Springs as of this month, although Goldberg admitted the atmosphere is constantly changing and new installations are always in the works. In the current collection you can find directions to monumental sculptures in parks and open areas. You are led behind old buildings to see vivid and bright murals painted on the crumbling brick. You can discover a number of mosaic pieces and even yarn bombing and felted community projects in the area.
“The public art shows the diversity of Yellow Springs,” said Goldberg. “It’s such diverse art not just in terms of diverse styles. The murals are of many different things and many different types. Some are a little fantasy. Some are beautiful. There is an African American mother and child painted on the side of a building that is just stunning.”
Another more unconventional addition to the public art brochure is a work created not by reputable or experienced artists, but by a graffiti art class at Mills Lawn Elementary School. It was done by the entire class that painted a wall using graffiti art.
From the massive to the miniscule, Yellow Springs public art covers it all.
“The one [mural] on [the YSI building] is one story but very long. At least eight car lengths. At least eight and possibly more,” said Goldberg about the diversity in size of the art included in her brochure. “Then there is a small, sculptural piece, a gargoyle on a beautiful brick building downtown under a window, and it’s slightly narrower than the window. It’s maybe 12 to 14 inches wide, shorter than that.”
Along with her passion for Yellow Springs public art, and her desire to make it be seen by locals and tourists, Goldberg also feels the brochure is a necessity. She saw a void in Yellow Springs and hopes that her map of public art will fill it. With all the traffic and commotion on Xenia Avenue, which is home to most of the commercial and retail property in Yellow Springs, the pedestrian visitors rarely rounded the corner to Dayton Street to see what else Yellow Springs has to offer, including the public art that can be found there.
“I really just believe that visitors to Yellow Springs will be excited to know that there is all this art that they can’t see just walking down Xenia Avenue,” said Goldberg. “They can see some of it, but if they go behind the streets and look the alleys, if they look on Dayton Street, they’ll discover all of the hidden treasures.”
Already much of a hidden treasure, Yellow Springs is a blooming art community in the middle of the Miami Valley, in the heart of the Midwest, more nationally known for its college, Antioch, that was perhaps the hardest hit higher education establishment in the country by the economic recession. What people don’t know is that just because Antioch isn’t its old self, Yellow Springs is. It’s still a destination and it is just as artistically driven and progressive as ever.
“I am an artist and it is my belief that Yellow Springs is, in part, what it is because of the number of artists living here and because of the art we live with in our day to day life,” said Goldberg. “I believe a lot of people come to Yellow Springs because they want to see the art and creativity. They’ve heard about what a creative town it is. When people come to Yellow Springs and say, ‘Where’s the art?’ we need to hand them more tools to find [it].”
Reach DCP freelance writer and editorial intern Emma Jarman at EmmaJarman@DaytonCityPaper.com.