The ninth incarnation of the two-day live painting event Urban Scrawl took place outside of 400 West Rich last weekend, and while there were many aspects similar to previous years - some amazing creativity on display, a friendly and enthusiastic vibe throughout, and weather that was mostly sweltering (with a dash of rain) - there were a number of new components worth recognizing.

The ninth incarnation of the two-day live painting event Urban Scrawl took place outside of 400 West Rich last weekend, and while there were many aspects similar to previous years - some amazing creativity on display, a friendly and enthusiastic vibe throughout, and weather that was mostly sweltering (with a dash of rain) - there were a number of new components worth recognizing.

Back in May, the panels artists create over the two-day festival were actioned at the Art for Franklinton fundraiser and netted nearly $10,000 for the George Bellows Grants Program, which will award artists and organizations that will improve the Franklinton neighborhood. The first five recipients of the Bellows Grants were announced Sunday - including individual artist Christopher Tennant and the Franklinton Friday event.

Also new to this year's Urban Scrawl were the awards given to three participating artists. The three categories were Crowd Choice, Franklinton Arts District Choice and Artists' Choice.

Mandi Ellen Caskey's enthralling double-panel that merged two faces to create a portrait that's as engaging as it is mystifying won Crowd Choice, and people were constantly snapping photos of her working on her panel both days. The Franklinton Arts District award went to Ashley Pierce for her encouraging and whimsical panel, featuring what I like to call "space turtles."

The Artist's Choice went to the collaboration between Rob Jones and Craig Allen, who created one of the most interesting and intense panels I've ever seen. The panel breaks the mold of what can be done by adding a number of smaller, painted panel pieces, found objects and building a chapel piece for the top. It was a truly imaginative and vivid piece.

There were many strong panels created - 64 total, the most in Scrawl's history - from over 80 artists. I was also impressed by Ben Slobodien's painting the three fates - and it's subtle use of textural brushstrokes in the white background - and Tom Lynch's bizarrely amusing cartoon collage.

But in the end, I say kudos to all-involved, as this was the biggest and best Scrawl yet.