New UC mural in Over-the-Rhine

UC artist transforms urban wallscape into Bearcat alumni tribute

Nicole Trimble is painting the town red — literally.

The artist and UC Blue Ash assistant professor has created a mural featuring 19 UC alumni, on view in the heart of Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. 

Nicole Trimble portrait in her art studio

Nicole Trimble | Photo/AGAR

The mural honors Bearcats recognized by the UC Alumni Association. In lieu of an in-person ceremony this year, the university is celebrating the group in spectacular — and safe — fashion.

Trimble, herself a UC alumna, designed a collage of portraits for the piece, with each award winner creating their own shade of “UC red.” The larger-than-life artwork will be on display through Homecoming this fall.

Alumni featured include founder and CEO of the Jeff Wyler Automotive Family, Jeffrey L. Wyler, Bus ’65, Hon ’11; UC Vice Provost Christopher T. Lewis, Med ’00; and Black Tech Women founder Anndréa M. Moore, Bus ’10. 

See the full slate of honorees.

Visit the mural

Check out the work, located at 1430 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine.

Nicole Trimble draws on a tablet in her art studio.

Trimble works on the mural sketch in her studio. Photo/AGAR

Cincinnati is no stranger to large-scale public works and neither is Trimble — in fact, murals are her specialty.

When she’s not teaching electronic media communications courses at UC Blue Ash, Trimble oversees installations as co-founder of mural painting and design group Bright Wall Collective.

After she graduated with her master’s degree from UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning in 2013, she first started working on murals as a teaching artist for ArtWorks, a Cincinnati arts organization that specializes in public art. (The nonprofit has far-reaching connections to UC, including ArtWorks' CEO and Artistic Director Tamara Harkavy, herself a DAAP grad.)

“I just really fell in love with it,” Trimble says of the medium.

Multi-panel mural depicting a bird flying from a person's hand

"Taking Flight," a StreetSpark mural spanning nearly 5,000 square feet, is one of Trimble's favorites that she's worked on. Photo/provided

In 2016, she began designing and painting murals for StreetSpark, a public art program in her hometown of Hamilton, Ohio, where she met manager Jenn Acus-Smith. “We instantly clicked and started collaborating on projects, so we decided to start Bright Wall as a way to connect and collaborate with other artists and take on projects outside the scope of a traditional public art program,” Trimble says.

Drawing of a mural of alumni portraits on a tablet

Photo/AGAR

Bright Wall Collective has worked with clients that include Listermann Brewing Company, the Hamilton City School District, Curiosity Advertising and the Boys & Girls Clubs.

When UC was looking for an artist with mural painting experience and a connection to the university, Trimble was a perfect fit.

“It's a dream scenario to have a client commission a project and let you take the creative reins, so it's been a really great experience,” she says.

Trimble spent a couple months creating individual portraits of each honoree, and then collaged them together to create the final mural design. Each alum was provided paint to mix and create their own unique shades of red that appears in their portrait.

“That interactive element isn't something I've seen before,” Trimble says. “It was really neat to see all of the unique paint shades come in.”

Featured image at top of completed alumni mural by Nicole Trimble/provided

Buckets of red, black and white paint

Photo/provided

Custom red paint swatches

Photo/AGAR

The honorees mixed up their own custom shades of red paint for the mural.

Nicole Trimble works in her art studio

Photo/AGAR

Mural with 19 portraits in red and black

Photo/provided