CINCINNATI– Today on Juneteenth, Colleen Houston, CEO & Artistic Director of ArtWorks, issued the following statement in support of the Black Lives Matters Mural in being painted in front of Cincinnati City Hall:
“ArtWorks is a proud partner of this Black Lives Matters mural, and we stand in allyship with the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio and Black Art Speaks and commend their leadership of this mural.
“Public art leads our community conversations and reflects our social fabric. At ArtWorks, we understand artists play a vital role as our community’s change agents. The collective of artists, Black Art Speaks, are visually translating the community’s will that racial equity prevail and reaffirm that Black lives matter in our community, across the nation and throughout the world.
“Cincinnati’s Black Lives Matters mural is distinctive and represents the extraordinary mobilization of leadership across the local Black artist community alongside local public, nonprofit and corporate leaders to build a collaborative to voice shared values and work for meaningful change. This mural is more than paint—and we look forward to the continued conversations and change that will move our community forward.
“For this mural, ArtWorks was able to hire youth apprentices and recruit and recommend many Black artists to be part of Black Art Speaks. I’m grateful to our board member Gee Horton, for his leadership on this project, and Brandon Hawkins, ArtWorks Teaching Artist, for serving as the mural’s project manager. We are proud of so many ArtWorks alumni who have participated and taken on leadership roles in this collective, such as long-time youth Apprentice Tamia Saunders and former staff member Kate Tepe to name a few, contributing their talents to the project.
“I’d like to thank all the supporters who stepped up to make this mural possible, especially the City of Cincinnati and ArtsWave, who were early to lead and support this important initiative.
“This is a time where our community is experiencing and calling for great change, and I commend Cincinnati’s local Black artists for stepping into this work.”
ArtWorks encourages all to attend the mural dedication on Friday, June 19 at 2 p.m. at City Hall. The mural was completed in recognition of Juneteenth, the commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
ArtWorks is an award-winning Greater Cincinnati nonprofit that transforms people and places through investments in creativity. The organization creates jobs for youth, ages 14-21 with the majority from underserved households, providing competitive 21st-century career-readiness skills through mentorship by professional artists. Since 1996, ArtWorks has employed more than 3,600 youth and 3,200 creative professionals, and the organization has completed more than 12,500 public and private art projects that include 190 permanent outdoor murals, contributing to the region’s global reputation as an arts destination. Learn more at ArtWorksCincinnati.org.