ArtWorks is opening its new V² Gallery on Friday, May 28, from 4 – 7 p.m. in Walnut Hills with its inaugural exhibition, Student Power. The show features work created by eight youth artists, ages 14-21, who were led by printmaker Terence Hammonds. The V² Gallery is the only local gallery focused on youth artists.
Student Power explores student protest movements and current issues that matter to young people today. The exhibit work features printed materials, including handmade ceramics, tote bags and posters. Hammonds led the artists through a 4-week gallery residency program where they learned printing and slip casting techniques to create art that is accessible. The artists are Erica Curtis, Wesley Ericson, Satchid Macharia, D’Airion McCullough, Jasper Murphy, Georgina Osae, Sami Rowlett and Grace Stringer.
“This program is about having a conversation about what is happening in society and letting the students react and interpret their point of view through art,” Hammonds said. “Student protest art has been a powerful force of change. They are using their work to express what the role of youth is in social change.”
Each artist has used this lens to create new work for the gallery.
“I want to bring awareness to the effects of climate change through my art,” Macharia said. “Maybe it will make someone think differently about their impact on this world. I believe we have the power to create the change we want to see.”
As part of the opening, Hammonds will be offering free screen printing of the youth artists’ designs. Those interested are invited to bring fabric items, such as t-shirts and tote-bags, that can be screen-printed.
As part of the residency program, the eight artists met with local curators, collector and museum partners to build a strong foundation of learning, including Maria Seda-Reeder of the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP School of Art and Wave Pool, Eli Meiners of 21c Museum Hotels, Matt Distel of The Carnegie and Carrie Atkins Maras and Emily Holtrop of the Cincinnati Art Museum.
Student Power runs through Saturday, July 31.
The V² Gallery was inspired by ArtWorks’ youth apprentice program where youth learn the tools and techniques of professional artists. This program gives these young artists the opportunity to create their own works of art and the platform to sell them. Items from the gallery will be available for purchase, and artists keep 90 percent of the proceeds from the sale of their work.
“I believe in creating unparalleled opportunities for youth in the arts in our community,” said Colleen Houston, ArtWorks CEO and artistic director. “With this gallery, I see the potential for ArtWorks to create a new experimental art space for artists and youth working in collaboration.”
The gallery opening coincides with ArtWorks’ move from Over-the-Rhine to Walnut Hills in the Peebles Corner Historic District. Each gallery opening will include artists talks or art-making activities for those in attendance.
“The gallery is a place of connection in Walnut Hills,” Houston said. “We are looking forward to how this space promotes gathering and meeting neighbors, as well as deepening arts and cultural partnerships, including with Cincy Nice, SKT Ceramics, the Cincinnati Art Museum and more. At ArtWorks, we deeply value participatory community art experiences, and for each exhibit, we are inviting the group of artists to lead artmaking experiences with our neighbors.”
Two other exhibits are planned for 2021. The Way We See Ourselves: Telling Stories Through Self Portraits runs August 21 – October 16, 2021. It will be led by April Sunami, where she will support the young artists to explore narrative and find meaning through mixed medium. The year’s final exhibit will be Cut the Bias, running October 29 – December 18, 2021. Led by the artist collective, Batres Gilvin, youth artists will create painted hammered tin wall hangings, inspired by traditional Mexican folk art materials and techniques, with contemporary messages.
Young artists interested in participating in the gallery residence program are encouraged to check the organization’s website at artworkscincinnati.org. The application for the next opportunity will be posted in June.
The ArtWorks V² Gallery is made possible through the generosity of V², also known as Vandell Verdona, a collaboration between longtime ArtWorks supporters Sara and Michelle Vance Waddell and Ron Houck and David Nebel. Model Group provides ongoing in-kind support for the gallery.
“What these young artists have created is extraordinary,” said Sara Vance Waddell, an ArtWorks board member and collector of art by women and artists of color. “Their passion for art and their ability to express their point of view is inspiring, and we are delighted to support the next generation of artists. This gallery is a gamechanger for our local arts community, giving a platform to these young artists.”
ArtWorks has nearly 4,000 youth apprentice alumni since its beginning in 1996. The organization is now in its 25th year.
“This new gallery is the perfect launch to celebrate ArtWorks’ 25th anniversary,” said Houck, an ArtWorks board member and owner of the plant trolley, inc. “ArtWorks is about educating these young artists and giving them the tools to show themselves and the world their potential. The V² gallery is a wonderful way to achieve this goal. David and I, along with our dear compadres Sara and Michelle, are excited and very happy to be supporting the V² gallery.”
Beginning May 28, the ArtWorks V² Gallery will be open Wednesdays – Saturdays from noon – 5 p.m at 901 E. McMillian Street. More information can be found at artworkscincinnati.org/get-involved/artworks-gallery.
ArtWorks is an award-winning Greater Cincinnati nonprofit that transforms people and places through investments in creativity. The organization collaborates with community organizations and residents, businesses, governments, foundations and nonprofits to build creative works of art that bolster the region’s global reputation as an arts destination. ArtWorks employs professional artists who inspire and mentor diverse teams of youth, ages 14-21, helping them build 21st century career-readiness skills. These teams have completed more than 13,800 public and private art projects in its 25 years, including more than 200 permanent outdoor murals.