Danielle Poling's design sketch for the Moonwall featuring Newark's Octagon Earthworks, which are aligned to the rising and setting of the Moon.

Danielle Poling’s design sketch for the Moonwall featuring Newark’s Octagon Earthworks, which are aligned to the rising and setting of the Moon along with Serpent Mound.

Two massive, colorful murals featuring ancient American Indian monuments and symbols soon will be spread across the cement walls of the Cooke Road railroad overpass in Clintonville in spite of last month’s recommendation by the Clintonville Area Commission to not approve the project.

Poling and parakeet

Danielle Poling and a Hopewell falcon (or parakeet) on the Sunwall at the Cooke Road railroad overpass.

The artist, Danielle Poling plans to have it completed by the end of July. This afternoon, I dropped by the overpass to visit Danielle to see how the murals were coming. She had just completed stenciling an image of the Hopewell falcon effigy (or is it a Carolina parakeet?) onto the Sunwall mural. While we talked a number of folks driving past honked their horns and waved or gave Danielle a thumbs-up gesture. When I asked her why she thought it was important to have an ancient American Indian themed mural here, her answer was short and sweet: “I think we need to honor the people who lived here before us. It’s so simple.”

In a letter to the editor of This Week News last month, she had a bit more to add: “Murals allow everyone to enjoy art, regardless of their income or access to museums or galleries. People walk and take family bike rides to the murals at North Broadway. They will do the same at Cooke Road. I have devoted my career to art education and educational research because I care about the future we are giving to our children. Ghandi’s famous quote, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world,’ is what has motivated me to design these murals and vet them with the community. I want to paint murals that provide educational and artistic enrichment to our citizens. That is the change I want to see.

sunflowerMost of the archaeologists with whom I’ve discussed the murals agree that the use of these powerful ancient symbols in public art is a good thing. I think it gives the symbols a renewed relevance and power in the popular imagination. The next time you have the opportunity to walk, bicycle, or drive through the Cooke Road overpass, take a moment to reflect on the images and let us know what you think. Brad Lepper


Posted July 11, 2014
Topics: Archaeology

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