- 19 December 2017
- Posted By Ellen Muse-Lindeman
In July, more than 300 residents of all ages came together to celebrate five years of Play in the Park. One look at the diverse group of neighbors gathered in Kennedy Park making art, listening to music and connecting with one another – it would be hard to tell that five years ago this was the location of two homicides.
Through the efforts of local volunteers, in partnership with Cincinnati Parks, Cincinnati Police, Kennedy Heights Arts Center and other groups, the neighborhood has reclaimed this public space and restored our sense of safety. Every week all summer long, people come together for a variety of community activities — and we’ve seen first-hand the power of the arts to connect and heal.
On one of the first nights of Play in the Park, many residents gathered in a circle each with a small frame drum. Master percussionist Baba Charles Miller led the group in playing instruments and singing a traditional African song. One of the residents called the experience “magical” and “deeply moving” as our music rose up on a beautiful summer evening.
The impact has been remarkable. There have been no more incidents of violence in the park. The police have hailed it as a model for combating violence and building community. Of course, there are many things and people who make Play in the Park a success, but those times we make music or create art together really connect us as a community.
Kennedy Heights Arts Center has made a visible, revitalizing impact on our community — transforming two vacant buildings into vibrant community arts centers and bringing together more than 5,000 diverse residents every year through free arts and cultural experiences.
The importance of the arts goes far beyond sharing creative experiences. In a world too often fractured and divided, the arts have the power to connect people, strengthen communities and restore a sense of belonging.
We invite you to be a community builder with your tax-deductible contribution to Kennedy Heights Arts Center.
This year’s Annual Fund goal is to raise $50,000, and we need your help to get there. Your financial support ensures that 100% of our programs are accessible to everyone regardless of ability to pay.