ArtWorks News

A Homecoming: #WeAreWalnutHills

The ArtWorks team in front of Morag Myerscough’s #5: We Are Walnut Hills mural. Photo by Tony Arrasmith.

Dear Friends,

I hope you’ve been staying safe and warm during the new year. I must admit I am working hard to keep my optimism alive this year. One of the brightest moments for me was to witness an extraordinary talented young poet, Amanda Gorman read her poem at the presidential inauguration, stirring my deep belief that young people are capable of greatness, demonstrating how conviction, courage and the power of art creates unity and inspires change. That day, I shared her words with ArtWorks staff and board, as I have a tradition of sharing poetry weekly. This poem illuminates a collective calling to struggle and work together for something better: to rebuild, reconcile and recover.

For there is always light if only we are brave enough to see it. If only we are brave enough to be it.” – Amanda Gorman

At ArtWorks, we are focusing on the bright spots. This year marks our 25th anniversary, and we are excited to share big plans throughout the coming year. I’m especially delighted to share with you that we’ll soon be moving to Walnut Hills—a neighborhood in which ArtWorks has deep roots.

Our move to Walnut Hills is a homecoming. In our early years, Eden Park was our outdoor studio where youth apprentices created works of art under tents, many of which are still visible today, including the Mirror Lake fresco that features fossils of sea life from the Ohio River, and the most artistic bus shelter in the city just outside the Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM). Soon after, we rented space at the Essex Studios and created many community-wide installations in partnership with the neighborhood’s visionary neighborhood leadership, including Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation and Easter Seals. A few of my favorite Walnut Hills works of public art are Morag Myerscough’s #5: We Are Walnut Hills mural, Brandon Hawkins’ new Make Every Block Better street mural at Frederick Douglass Elementary and Anthony Luensman’s neon C A M P G R O U N D.

With this move, we’ll be adding to an exciting arts corridor on Gilbert Avenue, just up the street from CAM’s new Art Climb and the new Cincinnati Ballet’s headquarters. Kathryne Gardette, a pioneer lead teaching artist in our early years and president of the Walnut Hills Area Council, has championed this move. She says, “ArtWorks choosing the heart of Walnut Hills expands the compliment of arts and cultural opportunities for our residents and businesses.” Our entire team is looking forward to being a great neighbor and calling Walnut Hills home.

Over holiday break we received incredible news from our long-time partner, the City of Cincinnati, that it is supporting 50 ArtWorks youth jobs in the arts this SPRING. This year, our spring employment program will be the largest in our history, employing a total of 64 youth in 16 projects. What an incredible start to our 25th anniversary year.

There is so much more we are excited to share as we look forward to this year. The community that has made ArtWorks into this powerhouse over the past 25 years is something we’re eager to celebrate, so we’ll be sharing more stories of our inspiring alumni, partners, and leaders in 2021.

Thank you for being part of ArtWorks’ collective impact. We look forward to connecting with you soon!

Colleen Houston, ArtWorks CEO & Artistic Diretor
Colleen Houston
ArtWorks CEO & Artistic Director

This column first appeared in ArtWorks’ e-newsletter. View this edition. Not yet signed up to receive our emails? Sign up here.

Read More in our February Newsletter

About ArtWorks

ArtWorks is an award-winning Greater Cincinnati nonprofit that transforms people and places through investments in creativity. The organization provides youth, ages 14-21 with the majority from underserved households, with competitive 21st century career readiness skills through mentorship by professional artists. Since 1996, ArtWorks has employed more than 3,750 youth and 3,300 creative professionals, and the organization has completed more than 12,500 public and private art projects that includes 200 permanent outdoor murals, contributing to the region’s global reputation as an arts destination.