Colleen Houston, ArtWorks CEO & artistic director, recently sat down with BOLD Blog podcast from the Leadership Council for Nonprofits’ BOLD (Board Orientation + Leadership Development) program.
Colleen jumped into her position in the midst of the pandemic in April 2020. To take the torch and continue ArtWorks’ success, she has submerged herself in education and training.
Colleen Houston’s mission in life is to help people discover their creative genius and connect with their communities through art. She believes that “everyone who has ever been a child is an artist”—and that by tapping into our creative energy, we can deepen empathy, strengthen social bonds, tackle tough issues, and unleash the potential of individuals and communities alike.
She was 18 years old when she joined ArtWorks as a Youth Apprentice. Her first project was turning a chair someone had tossed out in the trash into a work of art someone would buy. (The person who bought that chair still has it!) She returned to ArtWorks a few years later, after earning a degree in Public and Social Art at Warren Wilson College, to become both a Teaching Artist and Lead Artist. Since then, as Chief Programming Officer, she’s helped launch ArtWorks award-winning mural program producing 200 public murals in the region. The murals were instrumental in Cincinnati’s win for the 2010 City Livability Award by the U.S. Conference of Mayors (VIDEO). Colleen has also mentored Waco, Texas, and other cities on creating civic mural programs. Colleen graduated from BOLD in fall 2020.
BOLD is a leadership program that educates and empowers individuals to serve the nonprofit community as a nonprofit board member. Participants receive access to BOLD curriculum that will help them master the fundamentals of nonprofit board service. Check the dates of enrollment at BOLD’s website.
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 200 permanent outdoor murals, contributing to the region’s global reputation as an arts destination.