Dayton artist unveils wall of funk

September 10, 2018 by  

A new public mural in Dayton, Ohio, is designed to pay tribute to the city’s history as the ‘Land of Funk’.

The mural, which takes the form of 21 panels along the length of Stone Street, is the brainchild of local artist Morris Howard. Inspired by the music of his youth, Howard created a series of images ranging from abstract geometric shapes to depictions of historic albums, songs, and musicians. The mural as a whole aims to capture the sense of colorful, eccentric graphic design that propelled the genre of funk as much as the music did.

Paying tribute to its funky past has been a key element of Dayton’s downtown revitalization program. Howard previously designed the ‘Red Bird’ mural near the Neon movie theatre, while the fledgling Funk Museum opened up in Dayton earlier this year. Youths who are intrigued by the new mural may be motivated to visit a local music store or school, or for that matter a print shop or art supply store.

The mural was completed with the help of 15 children and teens from at-risk youth programs such as Youthworks and HAALO. Brittani Long, a community worker for the Montgomery County Juvenile Court system, was crucial towards putting this part of the project together. The involvement of at-risk youth dovetailed with Howard’s desire to pass on the legacy of funk to the next generation.