Source: Cincinnati Business Courier
Public art has been popping up all over Reading Road in Avondale over the past few years.
Beautiful florals. A phoenix rising. Kente patterns. A vanguard of multigenerational citizens.
The Avondale community has been the driving force behind these works of art, with ArtWorks as a long-time partner.
The newest work is a mural designed by the Detroit-based artist Tylonn Sawyer, honoring the late gospel composer Louise Shropshire, outside the fully renovated Hirsch Recreation Center. A series of new murals by local artist Cedric Michael Cox were installed in September at the recently rebuilt Avondale Town Center. Last year, ArtWorks completed a project spotlighting the professions of everyday neighborhood heroes by Dayton artist James Pate.Like most ArtWorks projects, youth apprentices, ages 14-21, were employed to create these installations under the guidance of professional artists.
As the neighborhood’s quality of life plan puts it, Avondale’s vision is when “families and individuals—young and old—are recognized as the backbone of the community, finding strength together. They are vested in Avondale’s bright future.”
“Creating a more robust public art plan for Avondale has been one of the many goals for the neighborhood for a long time,” said April Gallelli, Avondale Development Corporation (ADC) community organizer. “At ADC, we’re all about fostering a community of neighbors, and public art is a great way to do that. We can’t wait to engage the community in this project throughout this coming year.”
To support this work, ArtWorks has opened a request for proposals (RFP) for concepts ranging up to $15,000 for light-based interactive public art installations along the new walking and bike trail behind the Hirsch Recreation Center. The installations are planned to be fabricated next spring and installed by June 2020.
“ArtWorks is inspired to do this work in Avondale because of the residents’ desire for more public art that is reflective of this wonderful community with its rich culture and history of African American change-makers,” said Tamara Harkavy, ArtWorks founder & artistic director. “Avondale residents have said this was a priority, so we are excited to partner with them to bring this vision to life.”
A project steering committee will select the four winning concepts and will include representatives from Avondale Community Council, ADC, Cincinnati Recreation Commission and Green Umbrella.
ArtWorks will hire four professional artists to execute the work. Artists may request support from ArtWorks youth apprentices from Avondale in their proposals.
“The goal for the installations will be to enhance safety and celebrate the neighborhood’s cultural heritage,” Harkavy said. “We want to channel the community’s creative force into these activations.”
This opportunity for Avondale came from a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant for creative placemaking that supports partnerships of artists, arts organizations, and municipal government that work to revitalize neighborhoods. ArtWorks is one of the 57 organizations in the nation to receive an Our Town grant in 2019.