Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Read all about it! Recent interview with the Toledo Free press about the "ABC's of Public Art" book

Arts Commission uses local art highlights to teach ABCs

Written by Kyle Cappelletty | |
From the arches on the Ottawa Gate to the zigzags in the Swan Waves, a new book immerses children in an A to Z tour of local art.
As a service to Toledo families, The Arts Commission has launched “The ABC’s of Public Art” alphabet book.
The publication is designed to improve literacy and foster art appreciation as children follow Artimus the Owl to many of Northwest Ohio’s artistic sites. Artimus takes photographs along the way, teaching the alphabet and broadening readers’ vocabulary.
Arts Commission Executive Director Marc Folk said, “Projects such as ‘The ABC’s of Public Art’ are a great, free and fun way for children and families to learn about our city’s remarkable collection of public artwork. A resource like this is a unique way to teach our community’s children their ABCs and to promote literacy while engaging in one of our greatest local aesthetic resources.
“The best part about this program is the fact that we can take a step toward arts education when children are young and amidst significant cuts for funding the arts in public schools. This program allows us to double dip in a sense, improving art appreciation and literacy for Toledo children.”
“F” is for the sculpture of firemen in front of Fire Station 13 (next to the original Tony Packo’s), featuring four firefighters holding a hose. Standing less than a foot tall, the sculpture is made to look life-size thanks to Artimus’ photography.
Merrill Rainey, an illustrator with more than a decade of experience, provided the artwork for the book. He said, “This was one of the favorite projects of my career because it allowed me to help children see the fantastic art that Toledo has to offer and gave me the opportunity to collaborate with The Arts Commission in a very worthwhile project.

Images from ‘The ABC’s of Public Art.’ COURTESY MERRILL RAINEY
“‘X’ was my favorite letter to illustrate because it really helped to button up the publication. With ‘X Marks the Spot,’ we were able to create a map for the adventure with Artimus the Owl and show children and their families where the photographs came from. After illustrating the artistic destinations, I notice different pieces included in the book on a regular basis while driving through Toledo. This book has helped to reinforce the fact that this city has a great collection of publicly displayed art.”
“The ABC’s of Public Art” alphabet book was created as a service of the educational component of the One Percent for Art Program, implemented by the City of Toledo, which requires that 1 percent of capital building costs for public buildings go to the acquisition and permanent installation of public artwork.
The goals behind the One Percent for Art Program are to acquire art, display it publicly and use the newest initiatives and resources as a method to solve problems.
“Since 1977, when Toledo became the first city in Ohio to adopt the One Percent for Art Program, the collection and diversity of artistic presence in the area has grown significantly,” Folk said.
The Arts Commission is making the publication available for free to interested parents, teachers and mentors of young children. The Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo Public Schools and The Arts Commission will be among the main distribution points for the new publication.
Kelly Garrow, director of communications at the Toledo Museum of Art, said, “The museum will be a distribution point for the publication and it will be available for free in the Family Center.”
To receive a copy, contact The Arts Commission or visit its website at To download a free PDF of the book visit