ArtWorks News

Finalists Selected in Main Library Outdoor Plaza Project with ArtWorks

This past September, ArtWorks and Cincinnati’s Main Public Library announced a large-scale opportunity for professional artists as part of the Library’s system-wide improvements, Building the Next Generation Library. All 41 locations are undergoing upgrades to their facilities but the main branch is getting the ArtWorks treatment on one of its plazas. 

Phase one of two phases for the art plan involved ArtWorks and the Library opening a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for monumental public art to feature in the plaza. Artists were asked to submit their credentials which demonstrate their abilities to create inclusive, attractive, and engaging art.

Applicants from across the world submitted their qualifications. In total, 144 applications were received  from 9 countries: Canada, India, Japan, Malaysia, Norway, Poland, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States. The United States applications represent 36 states across the country. Three finalists have been selected to proceed to phase two’s Request for Proposals (RFP), meet them below!


Osman Akan

Akan is a Turkish American based in New York who focuses on modular artworks that incorporate reflective materials, natural light, and artificial light. Osman Akan studied graphic design at Bilkent University and holds a masters degree in Critical Studies and Integrated Media from California Institute of the Arts. 

Blessing Hancock

Blessing Hancock is the owner of Skyrim Studio in Tucson, AZ. Hancock’s art focuses on expressing site specificity and transforming that site through variations in light, shadow, and color.

Jen Lewin

Lewin, who is architecture-trained, produces artwork which is tech-based and highly interactive, incorporating changes in light intensity and color, as well as orientation of pieces. Lewin’s installation, The Pool, was featured in BLINK 2017’s inaugural festival.

About ArtWorks

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 14,000 public and private art projects in its 25 years, including more than 200 permanent outdoor murals.