ArtWorks News

Stronger Together

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


Dear Friends,

ArtWorks is growing and thriving during this change of season. I’m thrilled to announce three new team members have who joined our staff this month. Learn more about Marquise Adkins, Mary Kay Koehler and Sherman Parnell below. We could not be more excited for these creative and talented individuals to join us to further ArtWorks’ mission to transform people and places through investments and creativity.

At ArtWorks, we are focused on year-round Artist employment, and 2021 represents our largest spring employment season ever! Thanks to an incredible historic partnership with the City of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Recreation Commission (CRC), as well as many additional community partners, we are employing 68 Youth Apprentices and 37 Artists and Teaching Artists. This is a major milestone for us, because we’re employing more than 100 Artists prior to launching our well-known summer program.

As we reflect on celebrating ArtWorks 25th year, I am truly grateful to everyone who has believed in ArtWorks and stood alongside us in this work. I’m thrilled to share a feature with the legendary ArtWorks Lead Teaching Artist Kathryne Gardette and her work with Drums for Peace. We’re looking forward to share more stories like this in the coming year. There are hundreds of partners, community leaders and residents that make this work possible.

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.” The installation is in Joshua’s own handwriting, an inspirational message for all of us.

I invite you to learn more about our 17 Spring projects. To share a few highlights, I applaud ArtsWave for launching Truth and Reconciliation grants for Black and Brown artists in our community. For this program, ArtWorks is employing 10 youth apprentices to work directly with four artists: Brent Billingsley, Brandon Hawkins, Gee Horton, and Rebecca Nava. These projects are helping lead the community towards a more just and racially equitable future. In addition, we will be installing new works of public art across Madisonville, the West End, Walnut Hills and Over-the-Rhine and creating interior installations in five CRC locations. Our business community is supporting our mission with new murals at Thermo Fisher Scientific, GE Aviation and FC Cincinnati campuses. And we are proud to continue our longstanding partnership with the Duke Energy Convention Center and the City of Cincinnati, creating our 15th and most prominent installation to date. Working with Brazee Studios and local Apprentices, a glass sculpture called Kaleidoscope, will suspend near the main entrance, greeting thousands of visitors.

We are over the moon to be moving to our new home this month, which will include painting interior and exterior murals in our new office, and collaborating again with Kathryne Gardette, as a Lead Artist to create a significant new welcome mural drawing inspiration from adinkra symbols from Ghana, West Africa. Kathryne is a natural community builder and is inviting the community to say who we are through these symbols with this new work of art. #WeareWalnutHills

Hope to see you soon,
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 March 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 12,500 public and private art projects in its 25 years, including more than 200 permanent outdoor murals.