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New WCET-TV Mural Honors Dr. O'dell Owens

WCET's new mural shows Dr. O'dell Owens as an "Action Auction" host
Ronny Salerno
WCET's new mural shows Dr. O'dell Owens as an "Action Auction" host

Veteran 'Action Auction' chair Dr. O'dell Owens also will be saluted at a WCET-TV block party with Brave Berlin illuminations in September.

WCET-TV is honoring longtime Action Auction chairman and WCET-TV volunteer Dr. O'dell Owens with a mural on the east wall of the station and a September block party featuring illuminations by Brave Berlin of BLINK and Lumonocity fame.

Workers were installing the huge mural Wednesday on the Central Parkway side of the Crosley Telecommunications Center, 1223 Central Parkway, which houses the station. It will be dedicated at 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 12.

Owens, who will chair the 2021 Action Auctionfor a record 11th year Sept 8-11, also will be honored during the station's first CET is ME block party Sept. 23-25 at the station. The highlight will be the Brave Berlin light show illuminating The Singing Mural on the south end, overlooking the parking lot.

"Dr. Owens has long been a major positive force and change maker in our community," said Kitty Lensman, president and CEO of WCET-TV and Dayton's WPTD-TV, in a media release. "We are thankful for his dedication to ensuring that every child matters, both through his work in the medical field, his volunteering with other organizations and his work with us here at PBS. This mural is just one way we can publicly show our appreciation and honor the role he has played for us many in our community."

Recent Walnut Hills High School graduate Nadyaa Betts designed the mural, which depicts Owens in a CET shirt speaking into a microphone during the Action Auction.

Owens was originally set to be honored at the LIVE on CET! gala in 2020, but the event was cancelled due to COVID-19. As CET leaders looked for a new way to honor Owens' impact, they created this two-part event, says Kellie May, WCET-TV's communications and digital initiatives manager.

The mural is made with "applied vinyl so we could move it if we needed to," May says.

C.F. Payne's The Singing Mural on the south side of WCET-TV overlooks the parking lot.
J. Miles Wolf
C.F. Payne's The Singing Mural on the south side of WCET-TV overlooks the parking lot.

Renowned Cincinnati illustrator C.F. Payne drew "The Singing Mural" in 2011 for Artworks featuring Cincinnati Pops conductor Erich Kunzel; PBS children's host Fred Rogers; Cincinnati arts patron Patricia Corbett; Cincinnati broadcasting icon Ruth Lyons; Mr. Redlegs; Grover from Sesame Street; opera singers Beverly Sills and Leontyne Price; Cincinnati Police Officer Al Staples; musicians Elton John and Cab Calloway; the Phantom of the Opera; Madame Butterfly; Pagliacci; Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker; and composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

A Cincinnati native, Owens recently retired as president and CEO of Interact for Health. He had previously served as Hamilton County coroner; Cincinnati State Technical and Community College president; and Cincinnati Health Department medical director. He also established the in-vitro fertilization program at UC's Medical Center, according to his CET bio.

John Kiesewetter's reporting is independent. Cincinnati Public Radio only edits his articles for style and grammar.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.