Join us for an artists talk and interactive demonstration with artists Robert Lee Harris and Ricci Michaels, featured in our current exhibition “The Unfinished Revolution: Dare We Dream”.
The event will take place on Saturday, August 19 at 2:00 pm in the Lindner Gallery of the Kennedy Heights Arts Center’s Lindner Annex, 6620 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, OH 45213.
Robert Lee Harris began his fight for inclusion in the 1960’s. Ricci Michaels picked up her tools of battle with a paint brush and pen 20 years later. A forever “unfinished revolution,” these artist activists continue to dream of more just future.
For Robert Lee Harris, this exhibition serves as a retrospective of all that he has sought to accomplish in creating an inclusive community as an artist and advocate for persons with disabilities. Robert contracted meningitis at the early age of 8 months old, resulting in the permanent paralysis of both legs and his left hand; he has always used a wheelchair for mobility. This did not deter him from becoming an accomplished artist with more than 20 years of video production experience and almost 40 years of experience as a visual artist.
Robert describes himself as an artist for social change. He is very active in the community and has served in staff, board and committee member positions with many organizations including BRIDGES for a Just Community, the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission, Ohio Arts Council’s Artists with Disabilities Advisory Council, the Contemporary Art Center, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, American Red Cross, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, United Way and more. Robert is an Ohio winner of the “Victory Award” which he received from former First Lady Barbara Bush at a ceremony at the White House. In 1994, he received the “Ohio Humanitarian Award – Employment Equality” from Governor George Voinovich. In 2002, Robert received the “Maurice McCracken Award for Peace and Justice” and in 2003 was included in Fifth Third Bank’s “Profile in Courage.”
Currently addressing the inequity of health care for cancer patients, Robert’s artwork in The Unfinished Revolution reflects his concern about the direction that medical care has taken in our country. The lack of healing therapies available for lower income citizens, even though they are in existence, reveals the need to make known and overcome such class differences.
Identifiably powerful, Ricci Michaels is a visual artist, poet, muralist and proud disabled American Navy veteran. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Ricci is a self-taught artist who has been painting for over 30 years. Her work has been featured in numerous galleries throughout the region, including the Robert S. Marx Law Library/University of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Art Museum, Art Beyond Boundaries and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Ricci is a teaching artist who has found inner healing by sharing her love for visual art expression. Her work is often textured and interactive as it reflects the social and political issues of the day.
Ricci Michaels is also legally blind. “I would assert that my most significant growth as an artist occurred after the loss of my sight,” Ricci commented. “Art, whether it is writing, painting or sculpting, has become a more meaningful way to express myself and process the complexities of everyday life.”
Ricci is currently embarking on her crown collection which will shine a bright light on the highly sensitive topic of the debilitating effects of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) in women. Supported by the national Disabled American Veterans organization, she is opening up doors with her art that encourages women in any life role to seek the healing she has received once acknowledging the part PTSD has played in her life.
As these two prolific artists come together to speak to and about injustices within our country through their art, they dare to hope that, although unfinished, the revolution will continue, and as it does, bring together the vision that these two generations represent in a living statement of love.