ArtWorks News

VIDEO: Art + Social Justice | ArtWorks Viva Voce Artist Conversation

On December 3, 2020, ArtWorks was pleased to hold Viva Voce Artist Conversation on Art + Social Justice with our thought-provoking panelists of artists: Bayeté Ross Smith, Tyra Patterson and Russell Craig.

Watch Viva Voce: Art + Social Justice

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Tyra Patterson

Tyra Patterson wears many hats. She is now Ohio Justice and Policy Center’s first Community Outreach Strategy Specialist. Before joining OJPC, Tyra spent 23 years incarcerated for murder and robbery, crimes she did not commit. Tyra used her time in prison constructively to educate herself. A sixth-grade dropout, Tyra eventually earn her GED, obtained a steam engineer’s license, became a certified tutor and completed a paralegal training program. On Christmas Day, 2017, Tyra was released from prison. She joined the OJPC staff full-time only weeks later. Tyra is joining the board of directors of ArtWorks in 2021.

Russell Craig

Russell Craig is a painter and Philadelphia native whose work combines portraiture with deeply social and political themes. A self-taught artist who survived nearly a decade of incarceration after growing up in the foster care system, Craig creates art as a means to explore the experience of over-criminalized communities and reassert agency after a lifetime of institutional control. His work has been shown at the Philadelphia African American Museum, and included in group shows like Truth to Power; State Goods: Art in the Era of Mass Incarceration; and the OG Experience and has garnered coverage in outlets including the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Post, Artsy, The Guardian, and The New York Times. Craig is an alumni of Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Restorative Justice Guild program, a 2017 Right of Return Fellow, and a 2018 Ford Foundation: Art For Justice Fellow.

Bayeté Ross Smith

Follow Bayeté on Instagram at @bayetekenan and @ourkindofpeople_

Bayeté Ross Smith is a photographer, artist, and education worker who lives in Harlem New York. He is a Presidential Leadership Scholar, a TED Resident, an Art For Justice Fund Fellow and a POV NY Times embedded mediamaker. His work is in the collections of The Smithsonian Institution, the Oakland Museum of California, the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and The Brooklyn Museum. He has exhibited internationally with the Goethe Institute (Ghana), Foto Museum (Belgium), the Lianzhou Foto Festival (China), and America House in (Ukraine), among others. His collaborative projects “Along The Way” and “Question Bridge: Black Males” have shown at the 2008 and 2012 Sundance Film Festival, respectively. His work has also been featured at the Sheffield Doc Fest and the L.A. Film Festival. He has also created a series of public art projects with organizations such as the Jerome Foundation, BRIC Arts Media, The Amistad Center, The Laundromat Project, the NYC Parks Department, the Hartford YMCA, San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and The California Judicial Council. His work has been published in numerous publications including Question Bridge: Black Males in America (2015), Dis:Integration: The Splintering of Black America (2010), Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present (2009), Black: A Celebration of A Culture (2005), The Spirit Of Family (2002), and The New York Times. In addition to his creative work in art and media, Bayeté helped launch and continues to work with the Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI), a hospital and school based violence prevention organization in Brooklyn NY that partners with Kings County Hospital. He is also a faculty member at the International Center of Photography and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Visit his website.

About Viva Voce

Viva Voce is a series of creative conversations with Artists and ArtWorks’ Alumni. Today, the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region has a global reputation as an arts destination and is full of talented working creatives. ArtWorks invites you to connect with artists who are changing our city and our world with groundbreaking works of art. Hear Artists speak about their artwork and current issues in this series, and we invite you to join the conversation. For this event, ArtWorks has invited artists who are using art in their social justice work.

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.

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