Hello & Welcome!
- 11 April 2022
- Posted By Ellen Muse-Lindeman
This year, we set out to make the idea of “welcome” tangible, partnering with diverse artists to create spaces that are unassailably welcoming and deeply inviting for everyone.
The Hello & Welcome project developed out of our participation in OF/BY/FOR ALL, a network of arts and cultural organizations across the globe working to put equity in action. Kennedy Heights Arts Center is dedicated to making the arts accessible for everyone. Over the past three years, our team has engaged in deep listening and collaborative planning with BIPOC creatives to develop strategies to become more representative OF, co-created BY, and welcoming FOR our diverse community.
From April to September, KHAC collaborated with local Black artists to design outdoor installations that transformed our campus into a welcoming space for community members to create and connect. Each month concluded with a free Community Day celebration with art-making, music, games, activities, food, and other activities for all ages.
- You Belong Here with William Jones
Photographer Will Jones captured images of his diverse neighbors to become part of a larger archive of the People of Kennedy Heights. A selection of these portraits were printed at large scale on vinyl and installed on the windows of Kennedy Heights Arts Center’s three-story facility.
- Sit and Stay Awhile with Jennifer Cox
Designer and fiber artist Jennifer Cox collaborated with local residents to transform the Arts Center’s wide, open porch into a homey, inviting space to “sit and stay awhile”. They created new seating arrangements with hand-stamped fabric coverings and pillows, vibrantly painted vinyl rugs, plants with crocheted fruits, wind chimes and an herb garden.
- A World of Color with Adoria Maxberry, Ke’Monte’ Figgs and Brent Billingsley
Local artists Adoria Maxberry, Ke’Monte Figgs and Brent Billingsley invited community members to help paint a large, colorful streetscape painting on our driveways–as well make artful sundaes and as hand-painted bandanas to take home.
- Post No Ills with Lance Johnson
Lance Johnson, a Columbus-based artist with roots in graffiti and street art, collaborated with residents to layer vibrant colors, textures, and words of inspiration on picnic tables on the front lawn of the arts center, as well as yard signs to take home to share inspiring messages with their neighbors.
- We Belong Together with the Kennedy Collective
This last hurrah to summer celebrated the creativity in everyone with art and games designed by members of the Kennedy Artist Collective.
This initiative received great response from local community members, with more than 1,000 people participating in the events. 15 percent of attendees had never been to the Arts Center before, and another 39% had few prior experiences at KHAC. 100 percent of participants surveyed reported that they felt “very welcome” and more connected to their community. 92% said they hope to be involved in more art activities in the future.
Hello & Welcome was supported by grants from the Ohio Arts Council and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.