Graphic artist shares her love of the city, hope for social justice through her work

Lacey Talley, 24, likes to leave her mark in virtually every Cleveland neighborhood she’s visited or lived in. And she enjoys it when her friends leave their marks as well.


As a graphic designer, muralist, and animator, Talley spreads love throughout the city with her work, and she wants more artists to join her. “We need some more art lovers,” she says. “There is so much raw talent here, so many artists, and the city just doesn’t reflect that.”


Graphic designer, muralist, and animator, Lacey Talley.Talley cites Atlanta—with more than 1,000 murals, graffiti, and other street art in the city—as a place Cleveland should aspire to be with its public art. “Our city is pretty creative, and we have to have the same thing,” she says. “It will bring people to Cleveland, make them want to visit and travel here.”


Growing up in the Glennville neighborhood around East 105th Street and St. Clair Avenue, Talley went to Kent State University and in 2018 earned her bachelor’s degree in visual communication and design and minored in Pan African studies.


Talley traveled to Ghana and Senegal, Africa while earning her degree and began to develop an interest in social impact topics. That curiosity continues in both her freelance graphic design work, her art for sale, and her work on Cleveland murals.


Most recently, Talley was one of the artists who worked with Chanell and Donald Boyd on the new “Storytime (BLM)” mural in Collinwood. “I did the page with the ladies on it,” she boasts, adding that this was her second mural.


In 2017 she also was one of the Kent artists chosen by her professor, the late Christopher Darling, to work on the Hough Mural Project at East 66th Street and Hough Avenue with other students and members of Oriana House. “It was an amazing experience,” Talley recalls. “There are 30 faces [on the mural] and each face represents a different age group, race, gender.”


The mural won a silver medal from the New York Society of Illustrators.


Lacey Talley worked on the Hough Mural Project at East 66th Street and Hough Avenue with other students and members of Oriana House.Talley says the mural experiences taught her to love the medium. “When you get to paint on a bigger scale, it’s just like painting on canvas, but a thousand times bigger,” she says. You get to work with other artists and a get a new sense of community. You learn about people living in the neighborhood, you learn about the people working in the area. It’s just a great experience.”


Talley says she plans to continue painting murals with social justice themes.


“I want to keep doing murals, but I want it to be on a global scale—creating a traveling mural with some of my friends and travel the world making murals,” she says.

But she also wants to make her mark as an individual artist in Cleveland. She currently sells her work—prints, coasters, smudge pots, and other original pieces—online.


But she also wants to make her mark as an individual artist in Cleveland. “I want to open a small storefront in Cleveland, and open a small studio in Cleveland,” says Talley. “I want a place where artists can come and sell, with a really dope culture where people can be themselves, chill, and relax.”

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.