ArtWorks News

The Ripple Effect | ArtWorks’ 200th Mural

Tyra Patterson speaking at the ArtWorks Time Saved vs. Time Served Mural dedication. Photo by Louis Rideout.


Dear Friends,

This moment in our country stirs conflicting feelings, and at ArtWorks, we continue to focus on the resilience of the human spirit and the ability to make a positive change every day.

Yesterday I was reflecting on how systems don’t change overnight—that electoral politics is only one way to create the society we want to have. There is so much we can do on a local level, so I want to share about five local women who are fighting for second chances and making positive changes.

These social justice activists—Sheila Donaldson Johnson, DeAnna Hoskins, Tracy Brumfield, Belinda Coulter-Davis and Tyra Patterson—have personally served timed in the criminal justice system. Each have taken their experiences and turned them into the conviction to help others who formerly have been incarcerated be seen, heard and valued.

These inspiring women are the subject of ArtWorks 200th permanent outdoor mural, Time Saved vs. Time Served, at 235 W. Court Street. I invite you to learn more about how they are working to change the systems that do not work for returning citizens.

ArtWorks reached this incredible milestone of completing 200 murals this year despite many obstacles. We launched the mural program in 2007, and now these murals are part of our region’s fabric and cultural vibrancy. We’ve been able to paint murals across 37 city of Cincinnati neighborhoods and in 11 nearby cities and municipalities.

Each mural is a true act of community building. Scores of people—from neighborhood councils, public officials, property owners, community residents, artists, youth, business owners, nonprofit partners and more—make each mural possible. Murals can take up to a year to create with many steps of consensus building, problem-solving and ingenuity needed along the way.

This process, where the community creates together, is empowering, and it is the magic that proves these murals are more impactful than the paint on the wall. Oftentimes, once a group gets a mural completed, these engaged individuals keep GOING like in Westwood. As was told to Soapbox Cincinnati, neighborhood momentum began once they said yes to painting an ArtWorks mural in 2010.

Many other cities around the country have mural programs, but ArtWorks’ mural program stands out, because we employ local artists and youth apprentices (ages 14-21) to create these wonderful works of art.

The mural program has helped ArtWorks provide jobs for nearly 4,000 youth and more than 3,000 creative professionals. These job opportunities are critical to our creative economy and go beyond the paycheck. The mentorship and lifelong bonds each project creates gives youth and emerging artists the boost to take their career to the next level. After ArtWorks, they have increased confidence, larger-than-life creative accomplishments and immense civic pride for helping their communities.

The ripple effect of each mural is extraordinary. ArtWorks is deeply grateful to the artists, the partners, and the incredible supporters we had since the start of this program. Thank you for making this impact possible.

As we look towards the days ahead, my hope is the Time Saved vs. Time Served mural, as ArtWorks 200th mural, moves you to action to create a society where second chances are possible—where all people are treated with dignity and have opportunity to get ahead.

In solidarity,
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 November Newsletter

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.