ArtWorks News

Migration is Natural. Migration is Beautiful.

Photo of Casa Colina: A House on a Hill by Devin Grimm.

Dear Friends,

At ArtWorks we believe art can create change. Art is a meaningful part of our shared culture. What was made before us—ancient relics, monuments and art—help us learn about other cultures and what they valued.

We are creating art that reflects our shared culture in the here and now. In Cincinnati, our Latino/Latina/Latinx neighbors primarily live in a few concentrated areas of Price Hill and Carthage. This year we reflected on how to create a work of art that fostered a spirit of welcome and inclusion for this important community in East Price Hill with our partners at Price Hill Will. We invited artists Batres Gilvin, a collaborative made up of artists Karla Batres Gilvin and Bradley Gilvin to design a groundbreaking installation. Karla and Bradley as a mixed ethnicity couple seemed the perfect artists to infuse love into their art to transmit to a community of diverse neighbors, building positive energy and support for each other.

Casa Colina: House on a Hill mural is a celebration of immigration and welcoming immigrants as new neighbors from various backgrounds, especially migrants from Mexico and Central America. Casa Colina translates to “Hill House,” and is immersive, with art on every surface of the walkway, driveway and all sides of the home. The design features flora local to regions of origin including Guatemalan, Mexican and Ohioan native flowers. There are also hundreds of monarch butterflies, which symbolize the act of migration. Batres Gilvin’s work inspired by Favianna Rodriguez, shows migration is natural; migration is beautiful.

The story of this mural includes resistance from a small group of community members who felt the mural didn’t represent their “traditional values” and that it was “overly Hispanic.” They wanted the design to be changed. It can be difficult to stand against challenging voices in community art. But at ArtWorks, we stood by the many community leaders who believed in the original message and meaning behind this design. In fact, this proves to many, the need for such art to exist to build a place to foster understanding and welcoming for one of the largest communities of Latin neighbors in our city. This reminds me how art a catalyst for conversation, building empathy, and the larger work of community building. I couldn’t be more proud of this newest artwork in our city.

We invite you to be part of the celebration with us as we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month (Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana). I hope you will join ArtWorks, Price Hill Will, the Hispanic Chamber, the East Price Hill community, to officially welcome Casa Colina: House on the Hill by the artist collective, Batres Gilvin. Join us Friday, October 15 for our Casa Colina mural dedication, and on Friday October 8 for first in-person Viva Voce Artist Conversation on Native Flora in Art.

En Solidaridad,

Colleen Houston, ArtWorks CEO & Artistic Diretor
Colleen Houston
ArtWorks CEO & Artistic Director

This column first appeared in ArtWorks’ e-newsletter. View this edition. Not yet signed up to receive our emails? Sign up here.

Read More in our October Newsletter

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. Learn more at