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 Director
Photo by Andrew Houston
In Solidary with Asian American
& Pacific Islander Community
ArtWorks stands by our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and condemns the recent rise in racism and acts of hate. We were moved by the recent statement by National Underground Railroad Freedom Center's Woodrow Keown, Jr.

"We implore every American to demand for each other the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness our nation was founded upon," he writes. "We challenge each other to be curious, to be open and to understand our differences so that we can enjoy the vibrancy that can occur when you see all colors. Above all, we demand compassion and empathy for our fellow humans."

As Woodrow implores all of us, we will continue to stand up and speak out against all acts of prejudice. #StopAsianHate #StopAAPIHate
Make Art. Get Paid. We're Hiring!
Image by Prince Lang
ArtWorks is now hiring teams for 2021 of Youth Apprentices, ages 14-21, led by Teaching Artists, ages 22 and up, to work side-by-side to create public art and community impact projects. Projects can include (but are not limited to) painting, drawing, photography, design, sewing, and community engagement.
The hiring process has been revamped for 2021, so we invite you to sign up for one of our virtual applicant info sessions.

ArtWorks is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are strongly committed to building and retaining a diverse staff that creates an inclusive workplace which harnesses each voice to collectively advance ArtWorks’ mission.
Illustration by Henry Lindeman.
ArtWorks Is Moving!
ICYMI, ArtWorks is moving its administrative office to the Historic Peebles Corner in Walnut Hills this spring. The ArtWorks studio will remain at Solway Gallery in the West End. Questions? Please email us at or call 513.333.0388.
ArtWorks Office
2450 Gilbert Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45206
ArtWorks Studio
424 Findlay Street
Cincinnati, OH 45214
ArtWorks at 25
The Reverberating Impact of Drums for Peace
1997 was the first year of Drums for Peace at ArtWorks. From the ArtWorks archives.
2021 marks ArtWorks’ 25 years of transformational impact. To celebrate, we will be sharing stories from ArtWorks’ alumni, who are part of an incredible legacy of transforming people and places through investments in creativity.

“Can’t” isn’t a word Kathryne Gardette likes to hear.

In fact, as the lead teaching artist of the pivotal ArtWorks’ performance program, Drums for Peace, she always had a “can’t jar” out. Every time the word was used, a dollar would be added to the jar.

“Can’t is such a harsh sounding word,” Gardette, a Walnut Hills resident, says. “At the start of the summer, a Teaching Artist would point out use of the word. But two weeks in, it was the Apprentices that were pointing it out,” she says. “Towards the end, you may only get one or two dollars added to the jar. Language is so important.”

At the end of the summer, those can’ts would turn into something more fun.

If you are a Drum for Peace alum, we’d love to hear from you! Reach out to us at 513.333.0388 or at
ArtWorks Welcomes New Team Members
Pictured from the left: Marquise Adkins, Sherman Parnell and Mary Kay Koehler.
Photos by Callie Maraus, Preston Parnell and RVP Photography.
ArtWorks is delighted to welcome three new staff members in March! We invite you to reach out to welcome them.

Marquise Adkins has joined ArtWorks as our new Artist Impact Coordinator. "I love all things art, culture, and community," she says. "So working with ArtWorks is a great opportunity to work in an area I am passionate about. I’m most excited about working with Youth Apprentices and Artists in the community, as well as collaborating with the amazing ArtWorks team." Learn more about Marquise.

Sherman Parnell has joined as a Creative Project Manager. "I’m a visual artist myself, and I primarily focus on drawing and painting," he says. "Nevertheless, I truly enjoy the arts in all mediums and expressions. I’ve found that my passion for the arts has contributed to my learning and growth consistently throughout my life." Learn more about Sherman.

Mary Kay Koehler has joined as to the team as senior director of Development. "I moved to Cincinnati when I was 10 and am here to stay," she says. "One of the first memories I have of downtown is attending a concert at Music Hall with my classmates. I remember looking out the yellow school bus window and being amazed at the Homage to Cincinnatus mural. It’s a good memory I’ve kept all these years and it’s fun to know that ArtWorks worked with the original artist, Richard Haas, to restore it." Learn more about Mary Kay.
Check out Jay DeFazio's Inside Out
Samples from Jay DeFazio's Inside Out, a community-based art initiative celebrating the strength, beauty, and resiliency of transgender individuals.

“Transgender individuals re-create their identity from the inside-out,” Jay says. “We are all a work in progress. Like an artist, we are the only ones who can create our narratives, not the stereotypes and critics. The ultimate goal of Inside Out is to unify and connect the community of Cincinnati through the creation of positive self-image and shared experience of growth and acceptance.
Watch Our Latest Viva Voce Artist Conversation featuring our Jump Start Artists
Watch our recent 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. Check back soon to register our next Viva Voce Artist Conversation on Mental Health and Self Care in the Arts on Thursday, June 6, 2021.
Get ArtWorks’ 2021 Mural and Installation Map
Together We Win by Brandon Hawkins at 1600 Madison Road. Photo by J. Miles Wolf.
We have updated our mural and installation map for 2021! This year’s edition includes murals and installations that are walkable and located in Downtown, Over-the-Rhine, Pendleton and Walnut Hills and East Walnut Hills. The map features many of ArtWorks’ most beloved murals.
ArtWorks is proud to be part
of Strong Cincinnati
Photo by Carlynne Welch
ArtWorks proud to be part of Mayerson Academy’s Strong Cincinnati Institute, an engaging, cohort-based learning experience that helps individuals and teams uncover their strengths and create systems that promote a positive culture shift within their organization.

Throughout the Institute, participants build deeper relationships with their colleagues and connect with like-minded leaders from across the city as they build the capacity to create positive change through strengths.
Beyond Camp cARTwheel: Arts Enrichment Activities to Youth ages 6-12
Photo by Carlynne Welch
In 2020, ArtWorksThe Well and Wave Pool gathered exceptional artists and arts organizations to provide arts enrichment activities to youth ages 6-12 through Camp cARTwheel.

Now, ArtsWave is spotlighting the continued work of these educators and artists through a curated directory, which will provide arts enrichment content for the classroom or home. Opportunities will be updated throughout the year, so check back frequently as events get added.

Some of these opportunities are virtual, so even if you are out of the Greater Cincinnati area, we invite you to check it out!
Here's Your Chance to Become
an ArtWorks Volunteer Tour Guide!
Tour guide in front of Jonathan Queen's Fresh Harvest mural.
Cincinnati is a beautiful art gallery, and you can be the one to show it off!

ArtWorks is now looking for volunteers interested in becoming Tour Guides for the 2021 season. We invite you to find out more at our Virtual Tour Guide Info Session on Thursday, April 8 at 7 p.m. to get all your questions answered about how to become a Guide.

Our Tour Guides are trained in the behind-the-scenes stories about how ArtWorks murals and public art installations have come to be. All who are interested in showcasing how creativity can transform a region are encouraged to attend! There will be opportunities for volunteers to give tours on the weekdays and weekends.
ArtWorks In the News
Mamie Smith, left, as painted in Julia Bottoms' Dreaming Blues mural, and Siri Imani, as photographed by Kayla Kurkowski. Photo illustration by Brian Niesz, WCPO.
Here are some recent news articles about ArtWorks, our volunteers, alumni and projects.

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