Artists Mark Hanavan of Middletown and Paul Loehle of Cincinnati created a chalk drawing of Prince in front of The Canal House Bar & Grille during the “Chalk It Up” themed First Friday event May 6 in Middletown.

Prince sidewalk portrait in Ohio goes viral

The chalk drawing that paid homage to the late entertainer Prince was created by Middletown artist Mark Hanavan and Paul Loehle of Cincinnati during the city’s First Friday event downtown this past Friday.

The artwork has now gone viral on the internet with more than 11,000 likes and 1,000 shares on Facebook and has even been filmed by a drone pilot.

The drawing is of a photograph that appeared on the front of “The Hits/B-Sides,” a triple album of Prince’s greatest hits released in 1993.

“We were going to do a picture of (Donald) Trump and Hillary (Clinton), but when the news came through about Prince, I said we have to do a Prince image now,” Hanavan said.

The singer was found dead in his Minnesota home April 21.

Loehle and Hanavan have worked together before and share their skills as educators at local schools.

Loehle is a teacher at Hamilton High School and Hanavan plans to teach classes at Miami University Hamilton in the fall.

“Paul and I are always working on art projects together,” Hanavan said.

Several Hamilton High School students and members of the community also helped to create the sidewalk mural.

Seeing the 11,000 likes and 1,000 shares on The Prince Museum Facebook page was thrilling for all involved with the project, said Jamie Murphy, co-owner of The Canal House Bar & Grille, which sponsored the artwork for the event.

“It is absolutely spectacular and created this very exciting energy,” she said. “This has gone Internet viral.”

What’s really nice, according to Murphy, is that the sidewalk piece has created something positive for Middletown.

“This is the first work either of us have done on concrete with chalk, so we are on a learning curve about this,” Hanavan said. “So, when we showed up it wasn’t the real chalk you are supposed to use. There is a professional sidewalk chalk you are supposed to use that has more oil in it to make it last longer, but they just had kid chalk.”

Prince fans were moved by the piece, some to tears, Hanavan said.

“As soon as the weather breaks, maybe this Friday, we will get some real sidewalk chalk and go out there and punch it up again,” Hanavan said. “It will look better the second time and will even be more striking.”

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