Sign up for a FREE PHOTO SESSION with Skye High in “Our Spot” through this LINK. Sessions are 20 minutes long, from 11am-3pm on both Saturday August 7 and August 21. Space is limited.
Participants can register for one or both of these exciting, FREE workshops with artist Adoria Maxberry, and create unique art pieces that will be added to the exhibition in our gallery, along with things to take home!
Friday, August 6 from 6:30-7:30pm – Papermaking: Inspire, Create, Grow
Saturday, August 21 from 10-11am – Art to DYE for! Tie-dying workshop
Four emerging, Black artists present diverse installations exploring different ways to experience art in Unconventional, opening July 31, 2021 at Kennedy Heights Arts Center (KHAC). The public is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, July 31 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Featured artists include: Phillip Dowdy, Ke’Monte’ Figgs, Skye High, and Adoria Maxberry.
This project grew out of Kennedy Heights Arts Center’s ongoing conversations with local Black creatives over the past year, and provides a platform for voices not often heard in traditional galleries.
In 2020, the Arts Center joined the OF/BY/FOR ALL Change Network, a cohort of arts and cultural organizations across the globe working to become more representative OF, co-created BY and relevant FOR their diverse communities. As part of an intentional process to put equity into action, KHAC board and staff have been in conversation with Black artists, performers and cultural leaders in Cincinnati whom we invited to collaboratively explore how we might partner on actions and projects which directly support their goals and aspirations for themselves, their artistic practice, and their community(ies).
Artists shared barriers they have experienced with accessing resources and opportunities at museums, galleries and art institutions in Cincinnati. They stressed the importance of building authentic, versus transactional, relationships. In response, Kennedy Heights Arts Center committed to supporting their work by sharing power, resources (financial, material, time, and space), and pursuing cultural shifts within our organization.
The artists’ installations in Unconventional reflect various themes and materials including painting, photography, video, fiber, and mixed media.
Skye High’s mixed media installation “Our Spot” is inspired by Dreamworld, a concept born in Skye’s apartment, from a place of necessity. After being assaulted by someone close to them, they found it difficult to feel safe in their space. Dreamworld was a way of reclaiming that space and cultivating safety, comfort, and community for the ones they loved and in turn, themself.
“As a queer, Black person and undiagnosed autistic as a child, I didn’t have spaces where I felt comfortable and safe, so I made them,” Skye remarked. “’Our Spot’ is about a return to myself and being able to find and cultivate safe space in art.”
Viewers will be invited to step into the installations and be photographed, if they wish, so they become part of the art.
“I hope to make spaces that are tactile and inviting, and showcase the magic in the otherwise mundane. The installation hopes to blur the lines between art and observer, inviting patrons to step into a moment that feels strange, and oddly familiar, like a dream.”
It has long been Ke’Monte’ Figgs’ dream to create a children’s book. Art has always been a part of his life, and he is passionate about bringing an impact to the youth in his community. Whether it’s painting, writing poetry, singing, dancing, videography, or music production he believes there are so many different pathways Black youth can follow rather than the streets. Through his first children’s book, titled Arts, Dreams, and Success, Figgs hopes to positively encourage and inspire children to discover their true potential by tapping into their hidden talents and creativity – whatever that may be.
The exhibit will feature original acrylic painting illustrations, as well as a look at his process creating the book. Visitors will have the opportunity to purchase an advance copy.
As a member of Black Art Speaks, Figgs painted the letter “S” (in Lives) in the Black Lives Matter mural in downtown Cincinnati in 2020 (and recently refreshed in 2021), but this will be his first exhibition in a gallery setting.
“This opportunity is a break-through for me, a step towards my dream coming true,” said Figgs. “I feel like I am stepping into my purpose in life and making an impact in the community.”
Unconventional will be on view in the Kennedy Gallery from July 31 to August 28, 2021. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Friday, 10am to 5pm and Saturday, 11am to 4pm. For more information, call 513-631-4278 or visit kennedyarts.org.
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