An Afternoon Walk for Art: Our Cincinnati Comic Expo 2017 Coda

Toy Heritage!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: last Saturday Anne and I attended the eighth annual Cincinnati Comic Expo in the heart of their downtown. Once we finished up at the show, the urge for exploration hadn’t faded yet. Last year we’d checked out a few of the local tourist attractions but had to leave some possibilities behind for future years. Our time was short, but we wanted to cross at least one objective off the outtake list.

Hence our lead photo: “Toy Heritage”.

Created by Jonathan Queen of ArtWorks Cincinnati, the mural is a tribute to Kenner Toys, international purveyors of fantastic childhood memories. Kenner was founded in Cincinnati and celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2016, when the mural was completed. Many of you can name more than half the personalities and objects in the scene.

Unfortunately our vantage options weren’t great. The mural is on one of three buildings surrounding a small parking lot across the street from some bars. We couldn’t step back any farther because the building behind us was in our way. This shot was the best I could do with my Galaxy S6, which has the widest scope of any camera we own. Here’s the far right end of the image that I cut off:

More toys!

Alternatively, Anne tried a phone-video approach, something neither of us ever think to do for any occasion, and created her own scrolling photo, as it were:

It’s not exactly in the best neighborhood, but it was harmless on a sweltering Saturday afternoon. We ignored the aspiring drunkards filing out of the bar across the street and buying a ride on one of those newfangled pedal-powered pubs that combine the disparate hobbies of bicycling and alcohol. We have one back home in Indianapolis, operated by a different company. Every time I see one, it brings out my judgmental side.

Unlike the rest of downtown Cincinnati, by and large. “Toy Heritage” is a healthy six-block walk from the Duke Energy Convention Center. Nearly any path you choose from A to B will take you past other art installations in the area. We located a few of the city’s 45 murals (at least) as well as a few pieces crafted in other media. Fueled by a round of ice cream from the nearest Graeter’s, we did our best to catch what we could before time and energy ran out.

Kissing Birds!

“Homecoming (Blue Birds)” by Charley Harper.

Flying Birds!

“Martha, the Last Passenger Pigeon” by conservationist John A. Ruthven in memory of the extinct passenger pigeon.

Mr. Tarbell Tips His Hat!

“Mr. Tarbell Tips His Hat” celebrates a particular peanut vendor who worked the crowds at Riverfront Stadium (1970-2002), former home of the Reds and the Bengals.


“Cincinnatus” by Richard Haaas, a tribute to the Roman statesmen who would serve as Cincinnati’s namesake. Local grocery company Kroger commissioned this in 1983 for their centennial.

James Garfield statue!

Switching media from paint to sculpture, we meet Ohio native President James Garfield, standing watch in Piatt Park. (We’ve previously visited Garfield’s extravagant burial site in Cleveland.)

Flying Pig Yellow!

We understand downtown has a number of pig statues stationed here and there (we saw one on last year’s Cincinnati excursion), but this year the only one we saw was this pigs-will-fly manifestation in front of Kroger corporate HQ.

Flying Pig Sign!

A sign on the Hyatt reminds us we’ll just have to try harder to find those other murals and pigs the next time we’re in Cincinnati.

All things considered, the jaunt was delightful despite the 90-degree heat bearing down on us and refusing to make way for autumn. Also, our two-part CCE writeup neglected to mention that I’d sprained my foot the previous Monday and refused to let it limit us for as long as I could. It wasn’t fully healed that day — still isn’t quite as of today, in fact. That’s why we don’t have enough 2017 Cincinnati pics for a five-part series, but I like to think I did well under the circumstances. Blame Cincinnati for giving us reasons to want to see more of it.

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