As steel mills and other industry began shutting down across the Rust Belt in the recessions of the 1970s and 80s, a small group of Ohioans got together to try save their town and do more with less. Over the next 10 years the sides of dilapidated buildings in Steubenville, OH began to blossom with murals celebrating the city’s history as an industrial town and –surprisingly– the home of early film icon Dean Martin. Steubenville was soon re-christened the City of Murals and the artwork that decorated the once-depressed town brought in thousands of tourists (and much-needed tourist dollars).
My father Michael Wojczuk was the muralist for several of the first City of Murals projects and the idea of a city of murals awoke my imagination. I remember dad bringing home Steubenville t-shirts imprinted with steam pipes and the city’s motto ‘you gotta be tough!’ which I wore every day to elementary school while feeling very tough indeed. [MORE] —Tana