ArtWorks News

Our 2021 Spring Season of Stronger Together

From Switch On Avondale: We Are Stronger Together, handwriting from Joshua, 18. Installation by Calcagno Cullen. Photo by Sandra Okot-Kotber.


Your belief in creating arts in public spaces bring us closer together and makes our community stronger. This is why we drew inspiration for our 2021 season, Stronger Together, from Calcagno Cullen’s collaborative work in Avondale, What We Need to Hear. Cullen’s work was part of ArtWorks’ 2020 Switch on Avondale, where artists collaborated with community residents to create 13 public light-based sculptures installed along walking trails behind the Hirsch Recreation Center.

Avondale resident, Joshua, 18, provided this quote, which reads in full: “We are stronger together as a family. Everyone is family if you see them as such. Family help each other. Family is there.” This installation is in Joshua’s own handwriting, an inspirational message for all of us.

For this Spring, ArtWorks is employing 68 Youth Apprentices, 37 Artists and Teaching Artists, and other several opportunities for youth engagement.

ArtWorks thanks our ongoing supporters: ArtsWave, City of Cincinnati and the Ohio Arts Council. 

Learn more about our 2021 Spring Season of Stronger Together


The West End Legacy Project

The West End Legacy project is a partnership between ArtWorks and FC Cincinnati, designed to represent the past and existing vibrancy of the neighborhood of the West End, as well as build community pride and beautification to the construction of the new FC Cincinnati soccer stadium. Community engagement with local residents and business owners, as well as photo and digital archival research through the Cincinnati Museum Center, informs the design of a permanent photo-based public art installation. The West End Legacy project employs one Artist, as both Designer and Teaching Artist, and four Youth Apprentices, of which half are from the West End community. Learn more about this project.

FC Cincinnati Club Murals

The FC Cincinnati Club Murals project is a partnership between ArtWorks and FC Cincinnati, designed to represent the past and existing vibrancy of the city of Cincinnati, as well as build community pride and beautification to the construction of the new FC Cincinnati soccer stadium. Lightning Horse Industries serves this project as Lead Designer to create designs for both the First Financial Club and the Heineken Supporters Club inside the new FC Cincinnati soccer stadium and the art will be executed by 5 professional artists. The First Financial Club will host two permanent mural installations that showcase elements of Cincinnati history, Cincinnati roots, and the diversity of Cincinnatians. The mural will provide a rustic brewery vibe and be engaging and accessible to young professionals and beyond. The Heineken Supporters Club will host one mural to showcase a gritty, hometown aesthetic, and celebrate the fans of the Club and FC Cincinnati. The FC Cincinnati Club murals will employ one Designer and five professional mural Artists. Learn more about this project.

ArtWorks Office Murals

Inside the new ArtWorks administrative office in the historic Peebles Corner Business District in Walnut Hills, ArtWorks producing a series of murals that reflect internal and external growth, as well as the creative possibilities that come from collaboration. The murals are being led by Lead Teaching Artists, and also Youth Apprentice Alumni, Dai Williams and Lizzy DuQuette. They will work with 8 Youth Apprentices through a co-design process that will explore visual arts improvisation with doodling as a core inspiration. Team building drawing exercises will be an experimental element to find cohesiveness within every artist’s drawing styles.

Walnut Hills Mural

As a new neighbor in the Walnut Hills community, ArtWorks will produce one permanent public mural that showcases a positive message and community spirit that complements the already vibrant neighborhood. This project will employ 1 Designer, 1 Lead Teaching Artist, and 4 Youth Apprentices with ties to Walnut Hills. The mural production team and subject matter of the project itself will reflect the strength, diversity, and resilience of the Walnut Hills community building off of past and current community engagement in the neighborhood.

Truth & Reconciliation Projects

ArtWorks is partnering with four artists who are awarded project grants, funded by ArtsWave, Duke Energy, and the City of Cincinnati, on the theme of “truth and reconciliation” that help lead the community toward a more just and racially equitable future. Through these artist partnerships, ArtWorks will employ 10 youth and they will support the awarded artists facilitate community engagement, creative ideation, and execute public or social art outcomes.

  • Brent Billingsley is leading teams of artists, each working with community collaborators including Black Art Speaks, Back2Back Ministries, ArtWorks, Fringe Coffee House and others, in assembling large-scale images of 10 iconic Black leaders from multiple individually painted pieces of paper. Cincinnati high school youth will be invited to participate in a spoken word poetry competition on the theme of ‘truth and reconciliation,’ with winners selected to perform their work in front of the completed portraits as backdrop.
  • Envision Findlay is a mural project conceived by artist Brandon Hawkins for newly renovated Findlay Park in Over-the-Rhine. Local youth will participate in the design and execution of the mural, conveying the resilience and beauty of the community. ArtWorks and Elementz will partner with Hawkins on this project.
  • Gee Horton will continue his ongoing work, The Baobob Project, in which he explores the African tradition of ‘rites of passage’ for young males. He will create a series of 60 close-up portraits of Black men of diverse ages and backgrounds in the style of tintype photography, partnering with Frederick Douglass Elementary; ArtWorks; UC Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation; the Mercantile Library; and West African organization Diasporic Soul.
  • Rebecca Nava’s The Edge Project will be an exhibition of mixed-media paintings, sculptures, and Mesoamerican alfombra-inspired floor installations. Exploring her own experiences as a second-generation U.S. citizen of Mexican descent living in the Midwest, with challenges to identify and belonging, the project will also encourage local Latinx people and immigrants to add their voices in a community collaboration. Rebecca Nava’s Renacimiento Project will be an exhibition of mixed-media paintings, sculptures, and Mesoamerican alfombra-inspired floor installations. Exploring her own experiences as a second-generation U.S. citizen of Mexican descent living in the Midwest, with challenges to identify and belonging, the project will also encourage local Latinx people and immigrants to add their voices in a community collaboration.


ArtWorks is excited to produce Kaleidoscope, our 15th work of art in partnership with the Duke Energy Convention Center. Local artist Sandra Gross and Leah Busch Rockel of Brazee Street Studios, along with two Youth Apprentices, are creating a suspended glass sculpture for the Convention Center’s newly renovated Café space, in partnership with Sediment Design. Like a kaleidoscope invites us to reimagine what we see, this work invites visitors to reimagine what can be possible in this place. The design features clusters of glass in a variety of shapes, colors, patterns and sizes and includes a vast group of butterflies, also called a kaleidoscope. This new work of art will serve as the Convention Center’s main entrance’s signature work of art, greeting thousands as they enter the space each year.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Mural

ArtWorks is commissioning a permanent public mural on an exterior retaining wall at the Thermo Fisher Scientific campus. This colorful mural will convey the themes of togetherness, diversity, equity, inclusion, and the recognition and celebration of diverse peoples who have made contributions to health sciences. The project will employ one Lead Designer, one Lead Teaching Artist and one Youth Apprentice.

Madisonville Public Art Installation

ArtWorks, in partnership with Ackermann Group, is producing 8 new works of public art in the center of the community. 1 Mural, 1 Light installation, 2 sculptural bike racks, and 4 public benches will be created to complement Madisonville’s existing and thriving community of creatives. This project will employ 4 Lead Designers, 1 Lead Teaching Artist, and 4 Youth Apprentices.


ArtWorks is continuing its long-standing partnership with MYCincinnati, a free, daily youth orchestra program in Price Hill whose mission is to use ensemble-based music as a vehicle for youth development and community engagement. ArtWorks and MYCincinnati have developed a Youth Apprenticeship program for MYCincinnati participants looking to take their leadership and career readiness skills to the next level. In the 2020 – 2021, ArtWorks is employing up to four MYCincinnati Youth Apprentices and providing career readiness programming, such as goal setting and future visioning workshops, formalized professional feedback, financial literacy and more. Through the program, MYCincinnati youth will plan and lead ensemble classes, work with other MYCincinnati youth in need of support in their musical development and education, all while giving back to a community organization that they are deeply connected to. MyCincinnati is generously supported by Price Hill Will.

GE Aviation Mural

ArtWorks brought its expertise in mural painting and community engagement to create Reaching New Heights, a new mural inside the GE Aviation complex in Evendale, celebrating GE’s commitment to active service members, veterans, and the engines that keep them safe. Local artist and designer Christian Dallas, with the support of one Youth Apprentice, painted this new mural. His design celebrates military heritage, featuring several planes and iconic engines throughout history.

Cincinnati Recreation Commission Interior Murals

ArtWorks and the Cincinnati Recreation Commission (CRC) have had a longstanding career readiness partnership through the City’s Youth to Work program. This year, ArtWorks is bringing art to five CRCs, specifically in the form of interior murals. These murals will bring vibrancy, dynamism, and fun to recreation spaces, ultimately creating a beautiful environment for young people and families to engage in. ArtWorks is elevating 3 emerging designers and 6 emerging artists to lead each project. Across the 5 CRC sites, ArtWorks will employ 24 Youth Apprentices.


ArtWorks is partnering with UC DAAP’s Co-op program to employ two students who will experience and support arts nonprofit management, specifically in the areas of artist impact, workforce development, and creative projects. Youth will work directly with Project Managers and department Directors and will have the opportunity to directly contribute to ArtWorks’ internal projects (i.e. developing marketing collateral, managing databases, supporting the coordination of material/supplies for projects, coordinating events, etc.)

Youth Gallery

The ArtWorks Gallery presents collaborations with outstanding Artists who will lead youth in gallery apprenticeships to create new works of art. Guided by the Artist, Youth will learn the materials and methods of the artist, making their own unique and individual works of art. A group exhibit will be the outcome of each studio with all works for sale and proceeds going directly to the Youth Apprentices. Local curators and museum partners will enhance the learning with a foundational gallery exhibition curriculum for all emerging artists. Youth will represent their art through artist statements, gallery talks, opening events, and community events, and Artists will host community workshops to engage with residents through art making activities during the run of each exhibit. This Spring, 8 youth will participate in “Student Power,” a program led by artist Terence Hammonds. Through studio exploration, youth collaborators will study student movements and activism and draw inspiration from images and text, screen-printing on ceramics, fabric and other materials.

Viva Voce Artist Conversations

ArtWorks held a Viva Voce Artist Conversation on New Voices, featuring the ArtWorks Jump Start Artists. The panelists included Erika Nj Allen, Batres Gilvin, Jay DeFazio, Maggie Lawson, ninamdot and Kailah Ware. Each shared more about how art can be responsive to the challenging present moment. Viva Voce is a series of creative conversations with Artists and ArtWorks’ Alumni. Today, the Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky region has a global reputation as an arts destination and is full of talented working creatives. Watch the video here.

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 12,500 public and private art projects in its 25 years, including more than 200 permanent outdoor murals.