ArtWorks News

ArtWorks and Cincinnati Recreation Commission Unite to Bring Beauty and Creativity to Life at Community Centers

CINCINNATI— An iconic pair like peanut butter and chocolate, ArtWorks and the Cincinnati Recreation Commission (CRC) are in the midst of an innovative ongoing community partnership.

ArtWorks, a nonprofit organization with a 28-year history, is dedicated to creating community-based public art while providing career opportunities for artists of all ages. Established in 1927, the CRC enriches the lives of Cincinnatians through a network of recreational facilities, playgrounds, and sports fields, fostering a vibrant community spirit. As a team, they’ve been spearheading projects that make the Queen City a better, brighter place to live since 2018.

The newest and tenth collaborative project for ArtWorks and the CRC is the completion of a pair of new murals that adorn the walls of the Bond Hill Recreation Center, 1501 Elizabeth Pl, Cincinnati, OH 45237. The public is invited to join us for a free dedication event on Thursday, March 21, from 3–5 p.m. for music, art activities, and a chance to witness these striking murals. Advanced registration is required. This event will also preview changes for the Bond Hill CRC that will happen this summer thanks to Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, P&G, the Cincinnati Reds, GE, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens.

Crafted by Cincinnati Artist Ciara LeRoy, the murals feature a bright, color-blocked style inspired by Bond Hill’s architecture and African American/Black textile patterns. Lead Teaching Artist LeRoy, alongside Teaching Artist Kelsey Gray and nine apprentices aged 14-21, brought this artistic vision to life over several weeks in fall 2023.

“Our partnership aims to beautify recreations centers, creating welcoming spaces that honor the commission’s values and the history of the neighborhoods they serve. When we hire young people, we are looking for diverse individuals who have a connection to the neighborhoods we work in – and that was the case in Bond Hill and for so many of our projects at ArtWorks,” said Sydney Fine, Senior Director of Impact at ArtWorks. “This collaboration exemplifies the power of community engagement and art to make a meaningful difference.”

The ArtWorks CRC partnership took flight in 2018 with the creation of the exterior mural “Early Bird” by globally renowned artist Bongang at the Over-the-Rhine Recreation Center. Subsequent projects included significant murals at the Hirsch Recreation Center in Avondale, paying homage to civil rights anthem composer Louise Shropshire, and introducing light-based installations in Avondale through the “Switch on Avondale” series, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Expanding its impact, the partnership then introduced interior murals at various CRC locations, fostering pride and identity within the West End (Lincoln), College Hill, Oakley, Winton Hills, and Westwood. Building on this success, 2022 saw the creation of murals celebrating the rich history of the Evanston neighborhood at the Evanston Recreation Center.

With the completion of the Bond Hill project, ArtWorks and the CRC have their sights on enhancing the Price Hill Recreation Center this spring. Young artists aged 14-21 are encouraged to apply for ArtWorks’ paid Price Hill CRC opportunity before March 3, 2024. The mural project will be in the works from April 2 – May 25.

“Celebrating the milestone of CRC and ArtWorks 10th collaborative project at Bond Hill Recreation Center could not be more befitting, said Chris Pike, Cincinnati Recreation Commission’s Senior Management Analyst, Marketing and Communications. “In the midst of a renaissance, Bond Hill celebrated a 2023 addition of an FC Cincinnati Mini pitch, new playground, and pickleball courts, soon to be joined by a top-tier ballfield. The addition of these bright and impactful works of art will welcome all ages and cultures for years to come, while still rooted in the history of Bond Hill. CRC and ArtWorks continue to be a transformative team in the Cincinnati communities we serve.”

About Cincinnati Recreation Commission

The CRC, established in 1927, provides recreational activities for Cincinnatians of all ages and abilities, and also enriches the lives of Cincinnati citizens through a network of 23 recreation centers, 33 aquatic facilities, 6 golf courses and hundreds of playgrounds and sports fields. For more information, visit the CRC website at

About ArtWorks

Since 1996, ArtWorks has collaborated with community organizations and residents, businesses, governments, foundations, and nonprofits to build creative works of art that support the Greater Cincinnati region’s global reputation as an arts destination. ArtWorks has employed and trained over 3,500 professional artists and 4,000 youth, ages 14–24. We invest in our creative economy by creating jobs that support local talent, pairing professional artists to inspire and mentor diverse teams of youth, and helping them build 21st-century career-readiness skills. Over the past 28 years, this collaborative approach has created a citywide gallery with more than 14,000 public and private art projects, including more than 300 permanent outdoor murals.