Scott St. mural

WARREN – Having grown up in Warren, artist Amy Novelli knew to fear the worst when it came to the weather she could expect in late October and November while painting a 56-by-24-foot mural at the corner of North Park Avenue and Scott Street NE.

“They felt the city of Warren needed something now, not next spring, not next summer,” Novelli said. “I didn’t think the weather would hold one day. Every sunny day I got I thought it was my last.”

Novelli, who now lives in Arizona, was greeted with unseasonably warm temperatures and mostly dry weather and was able to finish the mural project, which was unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on a sun-filled Friday afternoon. She put the finishing touches on the mural right before the ribbon was cut by painting her name in yellow in the bottom-right corner of the work.

The mural project was sponsored by Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership and funded in part by a $3,393 grant awarded to TNP by the Ohio Arts Council. TNP and the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative provided matching funds, and several other area businesses (Warren Glass & Paint, Warren City Schools, Sherwin-Williams, National Fire & Water Repair, RC Construction) donated supplies and equipment for the project.

Novelli was chosen from 22 artists who submitted proposals and received a $7,500 stipend for the work.

TNP Executive Director Matt Martin said, “This is one of the coolest projects we’ve ever been a part of.”

The Trumbull County Land Bank currently owns the building, Martin said, but it is for sale – with the provision that any buyer must preserve the mural.

Novelli did research online to depict historical Warren homes in her initial proposal, and once she arrived in Warren she used local children as models for the nine kids depicted in the mural. Other children were used to decorate the guardrail in front of the wall with their paint-covered handprints.

The mural is a colorful addition in a neighborhood where TNP has been working to eliminate blight. Two blocks away from the mural, the body of Carly Ginnicks-Cornwell, who died from a heroin overdose, was found in September on the porch of a vacant house. After the family told Novelli about a butterfly that followed them as they searched for her body, the artist painted her name into the wing of the butterfly in the upper left corner.

Artist Deshawn Scott documented the creation of the mural for TNP and interviewed neighborhood residents. His work can be seen at www.blogs.deshawnscott.com.

Scott said one of the residents told him, “Now every time I walk down this street, I can see something beautiful.”

agray@tribtoday.com