Pictured, from left to right: U.S. Bank Market Operations Leader Ebony Feaster, Artist Jonesy, U.S. Bank Branch Manager Jennifer Corry and U.S. Bank Community Affairs Manager Alicia Townsend.
Cincinnati visual artist Jonesy likes to use every color in the rainbow, and it shows in her latest work on an unusual canvas: temporary plywood covering broken windows at a U.S. Bank branch.
Jonesy said the whimsical mural, which features a green-skinned woman with pink hair surrounded by stars, is a message from within a neighborhood that was damaged during recent protests spurred by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other injustices.
“I wanted to bring something pretty and peaceful to look at to remind you to center yourself in all this stuff that’s going on,” said Jonesy, 27. She created the work with the help of youth apprentice Shalaisjah Cason, a 21-year old student at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.
The branch is located in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, where U.S. Bank has a long history and has provided more than $75 million in community development financing in recent years. That financing has gone toward affordable housing, small business microloan programs, funding for youth-focused nonprofits and more.
With that history and engagement as a backdrop, Jennifer Corry, branch manager of the Over-the-Rhine office, decided to commission the mural after driving in to work and seeing other pieces of street art popping up throughout the neighborhood.
“I wanted the mural to represent we’re still here for the community,” Corry said. “We’re not going anywhere.”
Corry reached out to U.S. Bank community affairs manager Alicia Townsend who, in turn, contacted community partner ArtWorks to identify the artist and apprentice. U.S. Bank funded the project, and Jonesy and Cason completed the mural in a few days.
“We wanted to do something that reflected the community and showed that we stand with the community,” Townsend said.
Jonesy, who is biracial and queer, said her use of a multi-hued palette is especially meaningful coming during Pride Month. The woman in the painting, she added, is a “big representation of me.”
The artist has been racking up new Instagram followers after posting pictures of her work, which is the largest painting she has ever done.
“The feedback has been very good,” she said, “and it’s been very cool to give back to my community this way and to beautify it.”
The Over-the-Rhine branch has already reopened but repairs are still being made to the exterior. Corry said the branch is determining how to potentially preserve the mural after it is eventually taken down.
Written by Rick Rothacker and John Drees of U.S. Bank.