Long live rock! Michael Stanley mural to rise in Midtown


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All hail Cleveland’s king of rock and roll!

This summer, London-based artist WRDSMTH will create a 2,200 square foot tribute mural to Michael Stanley on a warehouse building at 2630 Payne Ave. The artwork, which will be visible from I-90 and the neighborhood, is a part of the “How do I love thee” tour spearheaded by Graffiti HeArt, which will add 15 murals throughout Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, and Lakewood. 

WRDSMTH will install the pieces from Aug 6-14. The Midtown mural will feature lyrics from Michael Stanley’s hit song “Lover” from 1980: “Thank God for the man who put the white lines on the highway.” WRDSMTH’s mural, in a tribute to Stanley, will feature the words, “thank god for the man who sang ‘thank god for the man who put the white lines on the highway.’”

Stanley, a singer-songwriter, musician and radio personality who was a ubiquitous presence in Cleveland from the 1970s on, died March 5 from lung cancer diagnosed seven months earlier.

Each of WRDSMTH’s pieces contains Typewriter text with a unique vintage typewriter insignia. His work is featured all over the world including in Paris, London, and New York. He also has eight large-scale pieces at The Bloc in Downtown Los Angeles.


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Through a shared press release with Graffiti HeArt, WRDSMTH said, “Being born and raised in Cleveland, it was impossible to not know who Michael Stanley was – he is a legend. While still in school, I had a summer Internship at TV8 and assisted the creative team on the show PM Magazine. There, I had the opportunity to meet and work with Michael. He was a producer and on-air talent on the show, and it turned out the legend was also a kind, affable, and likable guy. Kind of cool I got to call a legend my friend”.

According to the press release, Stamy Paul, president and founder of Graffiti HeArt, found the inspiration for the “‘How Do I love Thee” tour through her mother, Sylvia Paul, a first-generation Greek-American who grew up in Cleveland. “She shared the poem “how do I love thee” with her husband, Harry, in a love letter in the 1940’s; Sylvia died in 1991 and her love for her husband, family, and Cleveland lives on through this curated mural tour,” the press release states. 

Stamy hopes the Stanley mural and others will become an inspiration for Clevelanders to get out and explore art in their neighborhoods. “The tour will become a placemaking opportunity, encouraging the community, street art enthusiasts, and visitors to explore the city and seek out the murals, becoming a tour experience and another street art destination,” she said.

According to the release, other WRDSMTH mural locations will include Lakewood, Greater Collinwood, Gateway District, University Circle, St. Clair Superior, Campus District, Cleveland Heights. Participating partners include RTA, Cleveland Metroparks, and Cleveland Institute of Art.

Andres Ibarra is a journalism major at The Ohio State University and an intern with The Land.

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