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Black and Brown Artist Program

ArtsWave's Black and Brown Artist Program supports Black and Brown artists in the Cincinnati region who interpret the themes of our times. It is one way that ArtsWave works to increase the sustainability of organizations and artists that focus on the preservation and advancement of BIPOC arts and culture. The program is made possible by the ArtsWave Campaign, in partnership with City of Cincinnati, Duke Energy, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Fifth Third Bank, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Macy's, Walter C. Frank, and Peter and Betsy Niehoff.

Here are the projects that received the grant in 2024:

Asha the Artist | Bodies in Flux: Exploring Reproductive Choice Through Art and Words

"Bodies in Flux" is an exhibition of mixed media sculptures accompanied by poems or short stories nurturing communal empathy for women and nonbinary people's reproductive rights. This project harnesses the innovative spirit of Fluxus artists to challenge conventional notions of art's role in connecting people, inspired by the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the summer of 2022.

Ethan Avery | Student Athlete

"Student Athlete" is a short film following a star college athlete as he struggles between becoming a pillar for social change and focusing on his future career as a professional athlete. Written and directed by Avery, the film will tell this story through local talent, including actors, filmmakers, musicians, singers, poets, painters and more. "Student Athlete" explores how people can use their platform to influence positive change, specifically dealing with the relations of community and law enforcement.

Markus Cook | The Coming Sleep

"The Coming Sleep" is a 90-minute feature film about a Black scientist and professor seeking funding to build a machine that will separate her body from her soul. Secretly, she hopes the process will reunite her with her late husband and mother. The film explores grief, trauma and our desire to explain the unexplainable. It will be shot in downtown Cincinnati, Northside, and Newport, KY.

Jori An Cotton | Voices of Healing: Connecting Back to Our Inner Girl and Finding Our Joy and Freedom

"Voices of Healing" is a sensory-experience exhibition, using interviews, photography, music, poetry and more to convey the colorful ways Black Women discover, experience and express joy. The goal of the work is to bridge cultural gaps and inspire all people to discover their own joy, creating a community of people whose joy permeates the freedom to be oneself.

Ashley Glass | Breaking the Silence: The Black Nursing Documentary

"The Black Nursing Documentary" seeks to illuminate the invaluable contributions, resilience and stories of Black nurses. Through powerful narratives, interviews and historical context, the film documentary will showcase the often overlooked but pivotal role Black nurses have played in shaping healthcare, confronting adversity and fostering inclusivity within the nursing profession.

Brandon Hawkins | Where Honor is Due

"Where Honor is Due" is a commemorative mural that will adorn the Armory & Recreation Center, located in the beautiful Village of Woodlawn outside of Cincinnati. The mural celebrates the under-told stories of BIPOC military personnel who have served proudly but are often unrecognized.

Doug Hilson | Strokes: Inspiring the Next Generation to Paint Their Truth

"Strokes" is a 75-minute film about encouraging the young to pursue their passions in art. Featuring the work of Cincinnati artists, the film will highlight the uniqueness of Cincinnati's arts through a cultural lens, conveying how past art and contemporary art are connected to truth.

Chaya J. | In My Mind

"In My Mind" will be a six-track EP recording, accompanied by visuals that animate the words and the tone of the music and document the recording and writing process. As the title suggests, the album will focus on issues related to mental health, the struggles of the poor and working class, and the societal power structures that contribute to these challenges.

Faith Marie | HeartSpace Poetry Project

The HeartSpace Poetry Project will be a digital archive of poetry created through an 8-week writing program for high school girls between ages 14-18. The project will empower young minds to express themselves, engage with their community, and foster understanding of place, shared experiences and identity.

Noel Maghathe | Rooted in the Land

Rooted in the Land is an intricate blend of live performance and sculptural art, narrating the Palestinian diasporic experience. After creating a bronzed-sculpture garden landscape of plants that can grow both in Palestine and Ohio, Maghathe will choreograph a performance based on their lived experience in the diaspora. The performance will intertwine history, culture and the innate human connection to the Earth.

Lisa Merida-Paytes | Flow:Flux

Inspired by the artist's Hispanic cultural heritage, "Flow:Flux" is a collaborative, woven installation. Made from studio work, it incorporates paper elements constructed by the community in artist-led workshops. The project will combine innovative materials and processes and embrace the possibilities of alternative installation strategies, challenging the plinth and pedestal.

Anupama Mirle | DOR (Strings)

"DOR" is a theatrical, classical Indian dance performance about a young, unmarriable widow with a five-year-old daughter who decides to leave India. Following a string of events, she lands in the United States. Celebrating women's sensuality, maternal instinct, revenge when wronged, determination and peace, the performance also questions traditions that bind Indian women.

Emily Hanako Momohara | Mother's Tongue

"Mother's Tongue" is a three-piece exhibition that integrates traditional Japanese language with contemporary American landscapes, illuminating a rarely discussed diasporic middle ground. Each piece takes the form of photographic sculptures, wrapped in photographs of American landscapes that share characteristics of Japan. The works explore the deconstruction and forgetting of traditional language, contrasting it with the contemporary construction of identity. Viewers will contemplate the intricacies of the artwork and relate it to their own reflections on language and place.

Yemi Oyediran | King of Them All: The Story of King Records

"King of Them All: The Story of King Records" is a documentary that shows how King Records serves as a seminal, foundational influence in the creation of rock and roll. The film will be a mosaic of history and sound that examines the intersecting stories of Appalachian Americans, African Americans and Jewish Americans, whose migrations and interactions in Cincinnati crafted a distinct sonic landscape.

Alicia Redmond | The Village of Lincoln Heights: The History, Splendor, and Uncertainty of an (African) American People

"The Village of Lincoln Heights" is a short film that documents the first self-governing African American community north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Through a captivating exploration using archival photos, film footage from bygone eras and contemporary recordings, this documentary aims to illuminate the remarkable journey of the Lincoln Heights community. The film will include interviews with current residents and city officials, and will delve into the challenges, uncertainties and truths that shape the daily lives of inhabitants.

Sarah Rodriguez | PatchWORK

"PatchWORK" is a large-scale paper collage that combines the work of community members created through a four-part workshop series. Focusing on the west side neighborhoods of Price Hill, Sedamsville, Riverside, Sayler Park, Delhi Township and Westwood/Cheviot, the final collage incorporates imagery from the neighborhoods that make them unique.

Gauravi Shah | Untitled variety show

This variety show will feature a collection of sketches, music and other performance acts, developed, written, directed and performed by a team of Cincinnati comedians of color and allies. The acts will focus on the experiences of people of color and will address issues related to innovation, health, immigration and identity.

K.A. Simpson | FLIPd: Cincinnati, Ohio's Historic Places, Spaces, Told through African American Stories

"FLIPd" is a non-fiction chapter book that explores the historic places and spaces of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Utilizing narrative storytelling of the region's Black community, these true stories reframe our understanding of standard historic places that often overlook the African American perspective of historic places and spaces.

Derek Snow | The Ravenside Occurrence

"The Ravenside Occurrence" is a full-length play that is part Victorian ghost story and part gentrification cautionary tale. Inspired by the effects of racially motivated displacement in the neighborhoods where Snow was raised, the play addresses the scourge of gentrification in a mysterious and intriguing way.

tt stern-enzi | Stepping In (To Fatherhood)

"Stepping In (To Fatherhood)" is a series of essays that document the artist's personal history as a Black man raised in a single-parent household. Through an examination of fatherhood, the essays will explore the importance of familial connection and conversations that address health-related issues around access to information and healthier outcomes.

Margaret Tung | Going Beyond Traditional Classical Music: Innovative Music for Horn

"Going Beyond Traditional Classical Music: Innovative Music for Horn" is an audio recording of solo and chamber pieces from underrepresented composers in the Black and Brown community. These composers include Latina composer Alice Gomez and Black composer Jeffrey Scott. Tung will record the works with diverse chamber ensembles in the Cincinnati area.

Ingrid Woode | Be Still

"Be Still" is a multimedia portrait series highlighting accountability in mental and emotional health. Consisting of photographic portraits, video portraits, 3D portraits in virtual reality and a musical score, the project will include portraits of 7-10 Cincinnatians to spark dialogue around mental and emotional health.