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Iconic 1969 Cleveland mural of 4 diverse faces gets facelift this fall

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Posted at 9:25 PM, Sep 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-06 23:22:12-04

CLEVELAND — Hundreds of thousands of faces have come and gone past the green space on East 9th Street and Rockwell Avenue in Downtown Cleveland, but 4 faces have seen it all.

The faces of the figures on the mural above the green space. It’s called “Life is Sharing the Same Park Bench,” and it was created by John Morrel in 1969.

“We would like to keep this mural not just because of its message but because of its history, as well,” said Tara Turner.

Turner is the senior director of development for LAND Studio, a nonprofit organization that focuses on public art and public spaces in the city of Cleveland and its neighborhoods.

For the organization’s 10-year anniversary, they are sponsoring a facelift of the iconic mural.

“The mural is rather dilapidated and could use a little TLC at this point so what we are doing is going to restore it, as well as add amenities to keep it looking good for a number of years,” said Turner.

The group is having artist Alan Giberson repaint it starting in middle September.

“We will be adding a little bit of signage to help tell this story a little bit better,” said Turner.

They’re also adding park benches.

“The name of the mural is ‘Life is Sharing the Same Park Bench,’ but there are no benches right in front of the mural, so irony of ironies, we are going to add some park benches,” she said.

And while the mural is about brotherhood and putting aside each other’s differences, Turner said that message is just as important in 2021 as it was in 1969.

“We think this message is just as relevant as it was 50 years ago,” she said.

On Oct. 9 the group will celebrate a re-dedication of the mural as a gift to the city of Cleveland.