Market Square park Mural Tells Artisan Story of Neighborhood

If you’ve seen the striking new mural that overlooks Market Square Park, you’ve probably noticed the beautifully detailed images of weathered hands engaged in activities.

Yet what you probably didn’t know is that the hands were inspired by people who live and work in Ohio City. Artist Augustina Droze of Buffalo, New York spent a month in the neighborhood, photographing the hands of workers at the West Side Market and other locations and painstakingly recreating them.

Droze’s mural, which is entitled “By Hand,” depicts pairs of hands in various states of activity – holding barley used to make beer, fixing a bike, working on metal and pulling beets from a garden.

The artwork is an homage to the many talented artisans who make Ohio City what it is today. It celebrates the community’s past and looks to its future.

“Everything in the mural was sourced locally,” explains Droze. “The flowers and radishes were from the West Side Market. I wanted to depict things in the community that are made by hand.”

The mural, which covers the side of the historic Bender building that sits adjacent to the park, was painted directly onto the building by Droze herself.

“I was alone most of the time – it was just me up on the lift,” says Droze of the process, which took several weeks and required her to use special, historic colors that complemented the building. Droze engaged Mike Moritz, the talented metal fabricator who owns Moritz Met-als, to create the abstract pieces of fabric that run diagonally through the mural.

“The community was very receptive,” she adds. “I really enjoyed visiting the West Side Market.”

The mural was paid for through the City of Cleveland’s “Percent for Art” program as part of the redevelopment of Market Square Park. Droze was the winner of an international competition to complete the work. The entire project was coordinated by LAND Studio.