Muralists finishes painting the largest mural in America: The Glass City River Wall

After over two years, Glass City River Wall has official unveiling

TOLEDO, OHIO – The Glass City River Wall in Toledo has been in the making for a little over 2 years and the final strokes of paint were applied on Friday. On Saturday it was official: The River Wall was unveiled as the largest mural in the United States of America.

It measures 170,000 square feet and required around 3,000 gallons of paint to paint the 28 silos at the ADM grain facility.

“We’re done! Yay! This is the last day! We are crossing the finish line,” said Christina Kasper, the Glass City River Wall project manager told NBC24.

“Took longer than we anticipated. No one’s ever done this before so there was no template. We worked daily, to get to this space. It’s just glorious for the City of Toledo.”

The art displayed on the Glass City River Wall was designed by Gabe Gault and painted by local artists in Toledo. The mural, which is the largest in the nation, features 15 sunflowers as a sign of hope, with three Native American portraits to honor the first farmers in this region.

“They were the first people in this space. So this is a nod to that. And it’s also, there is a portrait of an elder, a mother, and a child. It’s a really magical moment that I think everybody can see a bit of themselves in,” Kasper said. 

When looking at the mural, the story of Toledo is showcased through the sunflowers and the three generations, which highlight Toledo’s past, present and future. Kasper hopes that as Toledoans take a moment to look at the mural, they see themselves represented.

“Everybody has their own story and they have to tell that story and that’s how the world changes, is when people share their stories it gives the platform for other people to share their stories. I hope every single person sees a little bit of themselves in this.”

But to Kasper, this mural links the stories of everyone in Toledo together, creating one larger story, in the place we call home.

“In the end, the story of Toledo is that we all belong to each other and that we create this beautiful tapestry together.”

Trent Croci at WTOL11 says the designers at Urban Sight and their partners said they wanted to showcase the past, present, and future of the indigenous peoples who laid the groundwork for the economic development which continues to grow throughout this region.

Before the 20th century, many tribal nations occupied the areas of northwest Ohio before being forcefully removed. It’s part of what made Saturday’s unveiling special for members of the tribes that called this area home. 

Members of the Shawnee Tribe like Jeremy Turner said the mural is a powerful moment for his family in particular, as his 7-year-old son’s likeness adorns one of the silos.

He said the mural is more than just paint. Rather it represents everything the Shawnee, Miami and Dakota tribes did as they laid the foundations for farming in the region.

“No one really thinks of us in a modern sense as we are today. Our communities are vibrant, our cultures strong. We’re still doing all these things,” said Turner.

Gabriel Gault was the main artist and designer behind the mural. He said he is grateful his team was able to bring the project to life even through the pandemic, supply chain issues, and inclement weather..

“People wanted to give up, I wanted to give up, but that wasn’t an option. We pushed through and found out ways to overcome and push through the downfall of things,” said Gault.

Gault lives in Southern California, but he said Toledo was the perfect place to take on his largest project to date.

He says he was happy to contribute to the city’s revitalization.

One of those artists among the team of 13 who worked on the mural was Eric Henn, an Ohio native who also has relations to the Miami Tribe.

“To have the largest mural in the United States. I’ve been doing murals for 35 years and to have that title, it is really big,” said Henn.

The mural showcases 92-year old Mary Louise Defender Wilson of the Dakota Tribe and Turner’s son Ontondi Greyhat of the Shawnee Tribe who both tower over 100 feet high.

Urban Sight said. the project will establish a blueprint for future endeavors.

Click here to learn more about the Glass City River Wall

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