The Ohio State University at Newark

Ohio State Newark Student Paints the Town as Part of Mural Project

NEWARK, Ohio, September 12, 2016 – With the stroke of a paintbrush, The Ohio State University at Newark student Lenise Alexandra Sunnenberg is helping to bring Newark’s downtown back to life. Sunnenberg is working with Artist Curtis Goldstein on murals in an alley between the Canal Market District and the Licking County Courthouse.

“I’m an anthropology major, but a professional writing minor. Through my minor, I became an intern at the Evans Foundation which is in charge of the new Canal Market District,” said Sunnenberg. “Because of that association, I became connected to Curtis Goldstein who is the muralist, and then I became his assistant in painting the mural.”

Sunnenberg, 31, is a senior at Ohio State Newark. She grew up in Newark, graduating from Newark High School. Sunnenberg is grateful for the opportunity to give back to her community thanks to the connections she has made through Ohio State Newark.

“I was so excited to get to work on the Canal Market District, and now I get to work on a mural that is going to be right here in downtown Newark,” said Sunnenberg. “That is exciting to me as an artist and as a citizen of Newark. It feels so good to get more and more involved and more and more invested in a place that I care about so much.”

The project is funded by the Gilbert Reese Family Foundation. Sunnenberg and Goldstein hope the murals take residents on a trip through time. The murals depict scenes of old storefronts that used to be in Newark in the 1800s and early 1900s.

“Curtis’ concept for the mural is very historical. We’ve got storefronts representing a lot of the products that would have been sold at the time, kind of capturing a moment in time for Newark,” said Sunnenberg. “The idea behind it is to build an identity for Newark. In order to have an identity here we have to understand our history. As you’re walking through the alley, it’s really a walk back through time. You’re walking through the alley to the new Canal Market District which is actually built exactly where the Ohio Canal used to run. It’s a nod to our history.”

Sunnenberg spends several hours downtown each week working on the project. Even though she’s had to tolerate extreme heat and heavy rain, she said it’s been worth every second. “To be able to give back and make this place something to be proud of is very exciting for me,” said Sunnenberg. “It’s wonderful that I get to be a part of that.”

The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that’s challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors. It’s where learning comes to life. Research, study abroad and service learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.