ArtWorks News

Celebrating ArtWorks’ 200th mural: Tyra Patterson’s vision for Time Saved vs. Time Served


Tyra Patterson has a strong presence as soon as she enters a room. Whenever she first visited the ArtWorks offices, the mood was no different. She arrived with a big vision in tow: to have returning citizens, alongside Youth Apprentices, create a monumental mural about people reentering society and the power of second chances. In Tyra’s trademark “let’s make this happen” style, she led the project as its artistic director, and worked with ArtWorks to hire talented artists who had experienced incarceration to lead the mural’s design.

Why such an idea? If you haven’t yet heard Tyra’s story, she was sent to prison for a crime she didn’t commit. After 23 years she was released and jumped right into being an advocate for people in prison and those who have been released. Her advocacy includes a soft spot for art, and thus she approached ArtWorks. Two years later, and the finished product is the mural, Time Served vs. Time Saved, at 235 W. Court Street downtown. With ArtWorks choosing New Voices as its season’s theme to present new perspectives for public art throughout our region, Tyra’s vision fit in perfectly.

The Faces Behind the Mural

The mural’s design features 5 women: Tyra who is now the community outreach strategy specialist with Ohio Justice and Policy Center (OJPC); Sheila Donaldson Johnson, senior paralegal at OJPC; DeAnna Hoskins, president and CEO of JustLeadership USA, a national organization dedicated to decarceration and who created the first office of re-entry in Hamilton County; Tracy Brumfield, the founder of RISE, a publication that provides information and resources to inmates in preparation for release, and Belinda Coulter-Harris who now works at Cincinnati Works, where she helps to connect people coming home to jobs and resources.

These five women faced adversity and came out working to make the world a better place.

The symbolic mural was designed by not only Tyra, but co-created with talented artists who have also reentered society after incarceration: renowned Philadelphia artist Russell Craig and local artist Jayme Santini. The mural’s Teaching Artists, Evan Hildebrandt, a familiar artist to ArtWorks and Syreeta “Rae” Scruggs, also a returning citizen, led a team of eight Youth Apprentices to bring this inspiring mural to life. The talented Youth Apprentices on the project were Lyle Casey, Danni Freeman, Rose Joffe, Wesley Ericson, Mykee Springs, Ella Emanuel, Alyssa Moore, and Arlo Grimaldi.

With COVID-19 safety guidelines in place, the team started their work in July and completed the mural by the end of August.

Celebrating ArtWorks’ 200th Mural

The mural was chosen as ArtWorks’ 200th permanent outdoor mural to celebrate its message of second chances and to honor this amazing milestone after starting the mural program in 2007.

On October 24, 2020, ArtWorks held a socially distanced mural dedication at the mural site on Court Street. We thank the following organizations for supporting this event including Q-Kidz Dance Team who performed their dance that physically embodies the social justice movement for the sake of Black lives; musician Josh Strange; food and drink by The Perfect Brew and King Me Water; cookies donated by The BonBonerie; face masks donated by Michele Young; and a poem written by WordPlay poet and ArtWorks Youth Apprentice Fabiola Matumaine (read Fabiola’s poem below).

We thank our speakers including Colleen Houston, ArtWorks CEO and artistic director, Sean Callan of Manley Burke, former mayor Mark Mallory, Cincinnati Councilwoman Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, Greg Walker of Youth and Teen Services at Cincinnati Recreation Commission, Tyra Patterson, DeAnna Hoskins, Artist Russell Craig and Youth Apprentice Ella Emanuel.

The dedication concluded with spirits high, inspired, and hopeful. We were left hopeful for change for our city and nation to recognize that people deserve second chances. When people get second chances, beautiful things happen.

Poem by Fabiola Matumaine

(Commissioned for the Time Saved vs. Time Served Mural Dedication)

We can begin again.
We can start over.
We can take a second chance.

Starting over is like:

  • Rebuilding life from scratch
  • Deciding what to do next
  • Making new memories
  • Reflecting on what and where we went wrong.

We all want Freedom.

Freedom is:

  • Wings molded for flight.
  • Oxygen of the soul.
  • Key to shackles and molten bondage.

We can begin again.
We can start over.
We can take a second chance.

The women in this mural remind me of:

  • Shelia Donaldson Johnson: reminds me of determination.
  • DeAnna Hoskins: reminds me of empowerment.
  • Tracy Brumfield: reminds me of resilience.
  • Belinda Coulter-Davis: reminds me of hope.
  • Tyra Patterson: reminds me of inspiration.

One time, I was given the chance to start over. It felt like:

  • Finally being visible when even in the light, I was next to invisible.
  • A drizzle in a hurricane.
  • An entrance manifested by an exit.

We can begin again.
We can start over.
We can take a second chance.

Being welcomed home sounds like

  • A voice in the utter humdrum.
  • Laughter on serene pupils.
  • “Fizz. Fizz” Of the iron pan.
  • And all the rambling of comfort set to come.

Fighting for justice in the community feels like:

  • Running up hill when gravity is pulling you down.
  • Living a righteous life.
  • Finally finding the key to the locked door of opportunity.

We can begin again.
We can start over.
We can take a second chance.

Watch video created by the Apprentice Team of Time Saved vs. Time Served

Having trouble? View on YouTube.

Read more about this project

Thank you to our sponsors

Thank you to our 200th Mural Dedication Event Sponsors: Manley Burke LPA, Kroger and The Bonbonerie.

Time Saved vs. Time Served is generously supported by Cincinnati Bar Association Foundation, the City of Cincinnati, City of Cincinnati’s Youth to Work, Sean and Ceci Donovan, Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s Arts & Culture Giving Circle, Peter and Mary Levin Family Foundation, Manuel D. & Rhoda Mayerson Foundation, Nehemiah Manufacturing, the Ohio Arts Council ArtsNEXT, the Ohio Transformation Fund, Robert Pohowsky, Represent Justice, the Ladislas & Vilma Segoe Family Foundation, Jan and Owen Wrassman, and Procter and Gamble as ArtWorks 2020 Mural Season Sponsor.

ArtWorks also thanks its ongoing sponsors, ArtsWave, the City of Cincinnati and the Ohio Arts Council.

About ArtWorks

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.