Press Release: Murals Back To Cincinnati

December 15th, 2015  |  Published in News

Great Start!  But the job’s not done.

For Immediate Release
December 15, 2015
Contact: Paul Muller, AIA
(Above) Art Conservators examining the murals at CVG in 2013
Union Terminal Murals Deserve to be Displayed Within Duke Energy Center
Central Avenue Site Should be Staging Area, Not a Final Installation
(Cincinnati, Ohio) Yesterday City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee voted to expend $750,000 to install nine of the Union Terminal murals in a glass enclosure on the west (rear) wall of the Duke Energy Center. “This is a welcome step forward but the plan is incomplete,” said Paul Muller, Executive Director of CPA.  “These treasures deserve a more appropriate setting, which we know will take time and planning.”   While the murals need to be stored temporarily while the Center is structurally upgraded for their installation, the plan as presented yesterday needs to be modified for the following reasons:
  • Temporary storage, not permanent relocation. The murals deserve a final home inside the Duke Energy Center lobby, where they can be viewed and enjoyed by thousands of City residents and visitors. The Central Avenue location is ideal for storage since the murals would not have to be loaded on trucks once the Center is prepared and funds are raised for the installation. It does not work as a permanent home.
  • Damage to the murals. The idea of a glass wall on the storage structure is unsound.  The ultraviolet radiation and even the visible light from west-facing exposure would cause damage to the murals.
  • Lack of visibility. The lack of pedestrian traffic on Central Avenue means fewer people would see the murals. In their original location at Union Terminal, and at the airport, the artworks were highly visible to an appreciative public.
  • Conveys the wrong impression. Displaying the murals in a glass box outdoors could give the impression that the relocation was complete, reducing the chance that they would end up in a more fitting indoor location indoors.
  • World-class art for Cincinnati. Artist Winold Reiss, creator of the murals, rooted the heroic images in reality, connecting them to the specifics of our region.  This connection explains why the murals are so deeply appreciated by the people of Cincinnati, who have donated $57,000 to the Save the Murals Fund at the Cincinnati Preservation Association.
  • A legacy of preservation. In 1972 Cincinnatians rallied to save all 14 murals from Union Terminal by relocating them to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. This was one of the most successful art conservation rescues in the history of our country. It unique because of both the size of the threatened murals and because of the quality and artistic significance.
  • Recommendation:  The location of the temporary storage is good, the glass is a problem. We recommend that a solid wall be created in lieu of the glass to protect the murals while the final location planning and fundraising is underway.
Alfred Moore, who led the original save of Union Terminal and the murals in 1972, believes they deserve a more prominent setting.  ”We received support from nearly ten thousand people when the murals were threatened” said Mr. Moore.  “They represent Cincinnati’s artistic and cultural heritage at its finest and should be proudly displayed.”
In 2014 Cincinnatians overwhelmingly expressed their support for the restoration of Union Terminal. Now is the time to care for these nine works of art, which also are part of that legacy. The full Council is expected to vote tomorrow (December 16, 2015) on funding the mural move. The support of Cincinnatians is necessary to ensure that these priceless works of art are properly cared for and will be installed in the location they deserve. Supporters are urged to contact the Mayor and Council members by phone and email and to attend tomorrow’s Council meeting to voice their support.
 (Above) Mural planning team touring Duke Energy Center in 2013

CPA Accepting Donations for Murals

June 6th, 2013  |  Published in News

The Cincinnati Enquirer, June 6, 2013 – Cliff Radel

Let the donations begin.

Cincinnati Preservation Association officially started accepting funds Wednesday to save the nine, endangered, industrial mosaic murals that once hung in Union Terminal’s now-demolished concourse.

“We were involved in the original effort to save these murals,” said Paul Muller, the association’s executive director. “We are lucky they were created, saved and now available for return to Cincinnati.”

The nine murals stand in two shuttered terminals slated for demolition at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Plans call for the terminals to be wrecked by 2015. The city of Cincinnati has first right of refusal to find the murals a new home. Mayor Mark Mallory wants to bring the works of nickel-sized pieces of colored glass and tinted mortar back to Ohio and inside the Duke Energy Convention Center.

The estimated cost to pack, remove, transport and install the nine, 20-feet by 20-feet, 8-ton panels is $5 million to $7 million. Governmental funds are not available to foot the entire bill.

Public money was also in short supply when the murals were moved to the airport in 1973. That’s when Cincinnati Preservation Association’s initial incarnation, the Miami Purchase Association for Historic Preservation, stepped in. Association officials also made sure, Muller noted, that the murals’ deed “specified that the city had first choice if the murals were ever to be moved again.”

Muller said reserving them once more “will add to the rich heritage of Cincinnati.”

Since an Enquirer story broke the news of the murals’ plight and the association’s involvement in raising funds to save the works of art, Muller said he has “been contacted by several individuals and an investment banker. They wanted to know when Cincinnati Preservation Association will be accepting donations.”

The answer is now.

If you prefer to donate by check, please make checks payable to:  Save the Murals Fund and mail to 342 West Fourth Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202.