Last week my company, The D5 Group, was commissioned to document the installment of a new mural going up in the City of Warren’s Garden District; specifically, Scott Street. As the one taking on the assignment, the client gave me a couple guidelines but also granted me creative leeway. After some brainstorming, I laid out my strategy to document the project.

The artist who won the award to create the mural, is Amy Novelli. Amy is a well-known artist based in Arizona but her roots are here in Warren, Ohio. The timeframe Amy gave to complete the mural is 30 days – perhaps longer if you understand Northeast Ohio weather. That amount of time allowed me to add more value to the project, which is: create photographs of the mural as it develops and share on Instagram – So I decided to:

  1. Create brief visual stories on Instagram that includes images, captions, video snippets and strategic hashtags. I decided on five hashtags that would give my client a “brand voice” while also attracting community agencies, fellow artists, and anyone looking for inspiration.
  2.  Create a Journal (here) that shared my thoughts, showcased more images and longer video clips including Behind the Scene footage.
  3. At the end of the project, create a slick video that can be shared on social media or in presentation format showcasing the murals completion.

The difficult part of this process is that I’d have to be at the mural site at least once a day while juggling other client assignments. There would be little time to create the images, process them, add copy, upload, and then post. To address this, I decided to delay my posts on both Instagram and my Journal Posts:  Instagram posts will be 2-4 days behind the actual process and my Journal will follow a week behind. 

So with that, lets get started… as always, thank you for viewing.

Entry #1: October 22, 2015

Images by DeShawn Scott documenting the Scott Street Mural Project

Entry #2, October 23, 2015

I spent a few hours yesterday evening deciding on the best equipment to use for the project. The artist in me wants to use everything at my disposal to create a variety of content; however, the businessman within knows that this isn’t wise. The more tools I use for the project, the more I have to lug around; editing becomes a longer process and most of all, I’m likely to get irritated.

Instead, I’m going with minimal but highly effective gear, 3 cameras, 2 lenses and my iPhone 6S… that’s it!  My editing process is going to be streamlined – I like the look of Kodak Porta-160 using V.S.C.O. When I’m in the mood for black and white, I’ll roll with Kodak Tri-X, using the same software. People might look down on using the iPhone but I’m the same guy who closed a deal at a Caribbean resort to create images using only my iPhone, and iPad – and they were very pleased. If you know what your doing, taking great images with your mobile phone is doable.

So that’s pretty much my set up… it’ll create a consistent look and save time.

With power-washing completed, Amy started priming the wall. Despite being a long process, she completed it much faster than I expected. This allowed extra time for her to actually start sketching out the mural once the primer dried.

A few neighborhood residents stopped by to ask questions about the mural and voice their opinion about the city and their neighborhood. One of those people was Tina (featured in the video below), who didn’t realize Amy was the artist creating the mural. You gotta see the video… cool.

I hung around for 2-3 hours which was way longer than I’d planned… no complaints though, I did it for the sake of creating more content.  On a side note, I learned that several organizations and businesses donated resources to help make the project a success – sweet!

Images by DeShawn Scott documenting the Scott Street Mural Project

Entry #3: October 24, 2015

Won’t be a lot of content creation today – the forecast is calling for rain. Since it wasn’t raining yet, I stopped by the project site around 8:30ish to see if Amy might have dropped in to do some work, she wasn’t there. She arrived sometime after my visit but sent me a text saying she was stopping her work because the rain was coming down and affecting the paint.

Images by DeShawn Scott documenting the Scott Street Mural Project

Entry #4: October 25, 2015

Saturday’s rain messed up the wall as far as the paint goes.

In the early part of the day, Amy had a concern for future weather issues and if other measures would be needed to protect the wall… or delay the project.

As I listened and documented the moment, I remember looking up at the sky and as the discussion of weather continued… the grey skies gradually turned blue with lots of sunshine. With today’s weather improving and a great forecast for monday and tuesday, we definitely received blessings.

Images by DeShawn Scott documenting the Scott Street Mural Project

Entry #5: October 26, 2015

I’ve probably traveled down Scott Street more times in the last week than I have in the last four years – scratch that… I have, no probably about it.

A lot going on tomorrow with other assignments so my goal was to get as much good content as possible. Helping make that happen were a few visitors from the neighborhood who hung out for a bit. One gentleman, came by and looked at the photo of the mural. He stared at the photo for about a minute, looked up and said, “She’s a blessed person” (referring to Amy). I was lucky enough to actually get that comment on video. Again, I’m doing this project in a organic way – I don’t want staged videos or anything like that so his comment was perfect!

Amy took advantage of the nice weather and arrived at the mural site early. I’m amazed at how much progress she’s made since Sunday morning. The plan was for her to be here 30 days but at the rate she’s going it may be less – she’s just in a zone… flowing.

Images by DeShawn Scott documenting the Scott Street Mural Project

Entry #6: October 27, 2015

I was really dreading this hectic day – committee meetings, two photo shoots, and some mandatory late night editing. Sandwiched in-between all of this was getting stills for the project. No sympathy asked, it all comes down to knowing time management and being able to prioritize.

My time at the site wasn’t the typical hour or so. Instead, it was 15 minutes here and there over a few visits. For what was needed, that timeframe worked perfectly.

One thing that really stands out to me is the amount of people excited about the mural going up. Doesn’t matter the color, gender, or age, people are very excited. I can tell the kind words, support and smiles really have a great affect on Amy. Hell, I feel good and it’s not even my artwork.

Images by DeShawn Scott documenting the Scott Street Mural Project

Entry #7: October 28, 2015

We were blessed with good weather but eventually it all comes to an end. There’s a positive side to the matter though… the break allows everyone to catch up on rest and/or work on another area of the project.

Images by DeShawn Scott documenting the Scott Street Mural Project

Entry #8: October 29, 2015

I was right about yesterday…  the rain allowed for some rest and catch-up time for everyone involved. Today is business as usual… Amy is wasting now time, especially because tomorrow’s forecast calls for more rain. Rob stopped by and placed some mortar in the “troubled” areas of the wall – he’s a solid guy and a great help to Amy.

Images by DeShawn Scott documenting the Scott Street Mural Project

Entry #9: October 30, 2015

Nothing going on today… for it is another rainy day.

I really hope we don’t get a long string of bad weather; of course, knowing this area as I do, it might happen. Amy mentioned that if the weather gets bad for a period of time, she’d have to comeback in May to finish-up. As for me, today is a perfect day to get my blog up and running to supplement the Instagram Feed. The process of juggling IG, creating the blog, creating content and coordinating activities is occasionally chaotic – no doubt it’ll get done though… whatever it takes.

And later that night…

 Entry #10: October 31, 2015

Despite it being a tad cold, the weather wasn’t too bad. Last year on Halloween, it rained… the year before that, I believe is was another cold day. It’s sorta odd… the older I get, the worse I feel for kids today regarding Halloween – they don’t get to experience it the way we did back in the day. I’m sure those 10 or more years older than me can say the thing about my generation as well, but we can all agree it’s waaay different now. Do you remember when the policeman and EMT’s would give out popcorn or candy? What about Trick or Treating when it was actually dark outside? Sigh…

Today, Trent stopped by to assist Amy with a design on the mural. He was focused on the assignment until a couple young girls walked passed us. He looked at them… they looked back at him and started giggling. I have proof because it happened while I was trying to recored him for a short Instagram video clip – it’s so obvious and hilarious. I showed him the video clip and we shared a few laughs. Ahhh those teenage years. Trent stayed around for a little bit but eventually, he told me the cold was getting to him… so left. Oh yeah… A childhood friend of Amy’s stopped by after discovering this Journal (or blog) on Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership’s Facebook Page. Their conversation was filled with funny stories and laughter… this project has so many dimensions. 

Images by DeShawn Scott documenting the Scott Street Mural Project

Entry #11: November 1, 2015

It was pretty obvious that the weather would be a factor the later it got yesterday. I spoke to Amy for a brief minute to just get an agenda for the next couple of days. As for this day, catching up with work and relaxing is the plan. 

Images by DeShawn Scott documenting the Scott Street Mural Project

Entry #12: November 2, 2015

I stopped by the mural around noon… Amy was doing her thing. Shortly after, a news reporter from the Vindicator stopped by for a story. The word is spreading about the mural… that’s so cool.  Hopefully they place an awesome image of Amy in the newspaper – it sucks when they don’t… I’ve been in that situation. 

Funny thing… after taking some photographs of Amy and the news reporter, I started thinking about the beginning stages of this project… the weathered wall prior to Amy’s artwork taking fold… the people from the neighborhood who stopped by to share their stories, our city and and all it’s history. While those thoughts were running through my mind, I looked to my left and there sat a paint can… the word on the can was “Resilience“. How fitting!

Images by DeShawn Scott documenting the Scott Street Mural Project

 Entry #13: November 3, 2015

I typically visit the project-site the first thing in the morning and around mid-afternoon – it takes on a completely different look once the sun wraps around the building. The colors are so vibrant and rich… very contrasty. I like that.

As the project moves forward, Amy’s getting to the point where she’ll need to select the children whose images will be added to the mural. There’s been some inquiries about that from parents… but Amy’s handling it fairly. I did suggest that the majority of children should be from the surrounding neighborhood.. we were on the same page with that. We definitely knew three candidates.

For the last couple of weeks, a gentleman from the neighborhood has stopped by to check out Amy’s progress. Recently, he informed Amy that he had three adorable nephews (or maybe it was little cousins) who would make great subjects for the mural – from there, I think it was a go. Amy arranged for the kids to stop by today so she could photograph them. I decided to stick around just in case we needed my equipment to get some better shots. The young men would be jumping and stopping motion isn’t a cellphone camera’s greatest quality. It would turn out to be a smart decision to stick around and help out.

Before leaving out, I met another visitor to the mural site. His name escapes me, but I do remember him telling me that he was a Vietnam Vet. We spoke for a few minutes, but there were two things that happened that I’ll always remember about him.First, he just stared at the mural in awe and said it reminded him of Vietnam – you can watch the video to understand what he meant. Secondly, he did one of the nicest things… he walked to the corner store and bought Amy a cold bottle of water. He didn’t want anything for it, it was just out of kindness. Good people do exist… I’m blessed to see it everyday.

Images by DeShawn Scott documenting the Scott Street Mural Project

Entry #14: November 4, 2015

I paid a visit to the mural this morning around 9am. As of late, if you stand in the parking lot at this time, you’ll witness people drive up, stay in their car, look at the mural and then they drive off.

Around 4pm, 20-25 kids from Team Sanders Inc. stopped by to get their handprints placed on the guardrail in front of the mural. Amy patiently explained everything to the kids, including how cool an opportunity it was for them. After a few minutes of conversation it was time to create.

Side note: During my time at the site today, I had a chance to meet Mr. Allen. I’ve heard a lot about him previously so it was cool to finally meet. Like Gigi, he also submitted work for the mural art contest, and although he didn’t win, he’s volunteering his time/talent to help the winner – honorable in my book.

Images by DeShawn Scott documenting the Scott Street Mural Project

Entry #15: November 5, 2015

Didn’t stay long today. I have a art exhibit happening tomorrow at The Soap Gallery, in Youngstown, OH. I’ve been preparing for the show over the last three weeks and yesterday we had a framing issue that sorta freaked me out – all is well today.

When I arrived, Amy was finishing up the last house on the mural. Gigi was also on the scene painting what looks like a dragonfly – it’s four blades from a ceiling fan and a bedpost. Pretty cool.

Images by DeShawn Scott documenting the Scott Street Mural Project

Entry #16: November 6, 2015


Entry #17: November 7, 2015

Although not feeling 100%, Amy worked indoors today at the Trumbull Art Gallery. The weather wasn’t ideal to work at the mural site so today’s game plan was to use a Pounce-Wheel to help in the layout of the children on the mural. Although a tad time consuming, in the overall scheme of things, the process would make things much more efficient for Amy on the back-end.

Images by DeShawn Scott documenting the Scott Street Mural Project

Entry #18: November 8, 2015

Yesterday’s strategy wasn’t to Amy’s liking. So tonight, with the help of some friends, she projected the image onto the mural and outlined the important elements remaining … some words and the images of children.

Images by DeShawn Scott documenting the Scott Street Mural Project


Entry #19: November 9, 2015

Amy wasn’t feeling well, so there was no activity today. The forecast is calling so-so weather, looking forward.

Entry #20: November 10, 2015

I nixed visiting the mural today and instead I’ll swing out tomorrow morning. Amy told me she was going to attempt to get some painting done before the iffy weather set-in. More content will be available if I wait. It’s all about strategy.

Entry #21: November 11, 2015

Good progress. “Welcome to Warren”, was added onto the mural and Amy’s near completion of  completely painting “Garden District” on the lower half of the mural. I’ve very interested to see how she’ll paint in the kids. Drawing and painting isn’t a talent I was blessed with so to watch Amy do her thing in such an intricate way will be cool.

Scott Street Mural


Entry #22: November 12, 2015

No entry.

Entry #23 November 13, 2015

No entry. C-O-L-D.

Entry #24 November 14, 2015

Everyone is back in the flow. Amy anticipates the mural’s completion will be next week. A ceremony is being planned by Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership… perhaps a ribbon-cutting and of course Amy speaking. We had a little sprinkling of rain and cold temps yesterday, 46 degrees was the high. You can sorta see the how the rain affected the paint on the mural – more paint will be needed in certain spots.

Scott Street Mural

Entry #25 November 15, 2015

Today was absolutely beautiful. I decided to stop by the mural after the sun shifted to the front of the mural (west). The colors would be more vibrant and I knew Amy would be in her “flow”.

We had a couple gentleman stop by to check out the mural – they had very nice comments. One gentleman in particular wanted to connect with Amy in the future because he’s creating a children’s book and is in the process of looking for an illustrator. I’ve seen him before at a few community events but never introduced myself – today was different.

Scott Street Mural

Entry #26 November 16, 2015

Today, I focused on getting more video footage of Amy. My original plan was to meet her for coffee and do a short candid documentary. Sadly, our schedules  prevented that from happening but I have at least gotten some candid clips here and there since October 22nd. Today we had a cool conversation about Classic Jazz. We both agreed Thelonius Monk was difficult to follow but he was a genius. She really likes Charles Mingus, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis… etc. In the video, she’s talking about one of my favorites, Sarah Vaughan.

Once again, God blessed us with great weather. I can hear my “Gramma” saying, “DeShawn, I don’t care how warm the weather is, it’s November… this is fools weather. Mess around and get sick if you want to.” I miss that woman.. everyday.

Scott Street Mural

Entry #27 November 17, 2015

It was very active at the mural-site today. I actually interviewed the first person who, although they liked the mural, felt it wouldn’t make a difference. He’s featured in the video below. Also today, I finally had a chance to meet with Mrs. McClellan. If you don’t know her story here’s a link.  I just can’t imagine the pain she feels. Very sad.


Mural Project


Entry #28 November 18, 2015

The mural itself is done but Amy wanted to add something extra special as a thank you to everyone involved in making the mural possible. I hung out with her at the Trumbull Art Gallery while she was creating. One cool thing I learned about Amy during this time was… (check out the video).

Mural Project

Entry #29 November 19, 2015

I was asked to speak at tomorrow’s ribbon-cutting, which is an honor. I have no idea what I’m going to say overall. I went to Elm Road Elementary back in the day so maybe I’ll share the story how I told everyone in my class that my Great-Great Grand dad owned Scott Street and therefore, I did. Obviously that’s not true (as far as I know), but at least it will break the ice. Other than that, I’ll speak from the heart.

Standing in front of the mural this morning was surreal. It seemed like only yesterday when I first met Amy, and Rob. The wall on the building was nothing but chipped paint and ugliness. Now, it’s something beautiful.

We have a lot of people in this community who care. Some in different ways… but we care. My hope is that we can put all the politics, egos, and “big fish little pond’ syndrome to bed, and make some great things happen.


Mural Project

Entry #30 November 20, 2015

We had a nice turnout for the ribbon-cutting. Gigi got to cut the ribbon… that was a very classy move by Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership.

In addition to adding the flower, Amy installed some addition art on the south side of the building – dragonflies.

Before closing out with photographs and video clips, I want to thank those of you who’ve followed me via this blog or my Instagram account, in the documentation of this video. There are a few things coming down the pipeline in regards to the Scott Street Mural Project. Stay tuned… and enjoy the video below.

Scott Street Mural Project. Photographed by by DeShawn Scott

Mural Project

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12 thoughts on “Scott Street Mural Project

  • Thanks for the continuous progress report, what fun to follow Amy’s adventure … thank you for posting and it is looking marvelous, thank you Amy …

  • Denise Rising

    Great idea to document every day. Thank you both for furthering the arts in our community.

  • Cindy Waltko

    It looks wonderful. Your dedication is admirable. Love watching your progress!

  • Mary Fuller

    The project & your documentation of it for us to follow are both awesome–appreciate the creativity and the effort. Our first apartment was on Scott Street -upstairs of a big home owned by the sweet landlords who lived downstairs.
    Is Amy related to Bill Novelli, teacher at Harding “back in the day” who later became a doctor?

  • Robin & Teri Novelli

    Your blog, photos, and video are very well done! We so wanted to see Amy’s progress and how such a project is done along the way. Your work has enabled us to see all that from here in Florida. Thank you!
    We are so proud of Amy and thankful she was able to return to Warren to brighten up the community in this way.