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Magic Carpets and a Pop-Up Parade in Price Hill

By Margy Waller - Photos by Tina Gutierrez

Price Hill Will celebrated spring with thousands of brightly-colored, hand-dyed wood chips and a colorful pop-up parade. 

On April 15, 2017, the creative placemaking team from Price Hill Will hosted the second annual celebration with made-on-the-spot magical woodchip carpets, giant handmade puppets for a parade, music by the MYCincinnatiYouth Orchestra Percussionistas, and empanadas from a food truck at the curb. The party was open to all and many people came from the neighborhood while others came from across the city and beyond.

The Warsaw Avenue Firehouse was filled with bins of the colorful sawdust people used to create designs of Las Alfombras, which means carpet in Spanish. As guests arrived, they chose a carpet space depending on whether they wanted to create their own Alfombras design or fill-in one of three prepared artworks. The Alfombras tradition comes from Guatemala. 

The crowd was diverse, including some who’d seen Alfombras in Guatemala and others who’d never heard of them before. Some groups came prepared with a plan for a design they wanted to make. One family visiting from England prepared a drawing the night before, especially for this event. They carefully measured and created a multi-colored, diamond design, which later won a prize from the anonymous-artist judge.

Price Hill Will celebrated spring with thousands of brightly-colored, hand-dyed wood chips and a colorful pop-up parade.
Working together
Creative thinkers
Starting the parade
Creating alfombras
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Another family from the nearby Covedale decided to help complete one of the prepared designs, along with a group of kids who filled in a border of blue chips. 

A number of people mentioned that they don’t live in Price Hill, but art-making parties like the Alfombras and other events in and around the Warsaw Avenue Firehouse bring them to the area often. One woman quietly shared that she and her family are seriously considering moving from another neighborhood because the art-making in Price Hill is so authentic and unique. 

While groups came together to fill in their Alfombra designs, others were making art for the parade at the end of the day. Artist Lizzy Duquette created some large, movable birds, bugs, flowers, and butterflies. Children painted the puppets in bright colors with their own imagined designs.

Nearby, other visitors of all ages filled plastic eggs with seeds and decorated them to make fanciful noisemakers to carry in the parade.

At the end of the day, the Ben Sloan and the Percussionistas called everyone together to line up for the sidewalk parade. All of the decorated artwork was distributed and the whole party of people followed the fanciful characters past the Empanada food truck and up Warsaw Avenue for several blocks before returning on the other side of the street.

The joyous and colorful sight caught the attention of people passing by on foot and in vehicles. They honked and waved in appreciation of the surprise holiday art.

Las Alfombras brought people together from the neighborhood and beyond with co-created art-making and sharing a treasured holiday cultural experience brought by some newcomers to the rest of the community. 

About Price Hill Will/WHRF Creative Placemaking Program

Price Hill Will is creating opportunities for residents to come together to make social, physical, and economic changes in their neighborhood with art. This program is supported by LISC—Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky with funding from the Kresge Foundation.