Source: Cincinnati Business Courier
By: Nikki Kingery
ArtWorks's First Project of 2020 Will Light Up this Cincinnati Neighborhood
ArtWorks’ first project of 2020 will feature a series of light-based installations aimed at enhancing neighborhood safety and celebrating cultural heritage.
Artists Calcagno Cullen and Matthew Grote have been selected by an Avondale public art steering committee to create Switch On Avondale, a series of interactive public art installations along the new walking and bike trail behind the renovated Hirsch Recreation Center on Reading Road. The project is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
“This work of creating more public art in Avondale is so important,” April Gallelli, Avondale Development Corp. community organizer, said in a news release. “The residents want more art that is reflective of our community’s rich culture and values, and we’re thrilled that a national funder is investing in this work. We look forward to what these artists partnering with the Avondale community will bring to life.”
ArtWorks is a Greater Cincinnati nonprofit that employs youth to create art and community impact. Cullen and Grote will be working with four ArtWorks youth apprentices, ages 14-21, who are Avondale residents to create these installations, which are being created this spring and installed in the summer.
Cullen is an artist and founder and director of Wave Pool, an arts center in Camp Washington that aims to be a catalyst for social engagement. Her design, “What We Need to Hear,” includes inspirational quotes from neighborhood residents made from neon flex material that will be installed along the walking trail.
In 2019, Cullen held “Cincinnati’s Table Dinner” at the Contemporary Arts Center where diverse populations in Cincinnati working on immigration issues came together to find solutions. As part of this project, Cullen will be bringing Cincinnati’s Table to Avondale, where a home chef will be featured and words of affirmation for the project will be collected.
Grote is an artist and designer, and his work ranges from furniture to painted murals. Most recently he contributed artwork to the HUEmanity projection and Urban Campsite for Blink 2019. He has spent 10 years painting murals and creating art installations, most notably as part of the program at Buffalo’s Albright Knox Art Museum. Previously, Grote spent four years working in environmental graphic design at Kolar Design, where he specialized in graphics and murals for corporate clients to express their values in visual form.
His design, “Sunflowers,” will featured solar powered lights on posts that are inspired by kente cloth designs. Each flower will have a center that will designed with community members from Avondale.
ArtWorks is partnering with several community organizations on the project, including the Avondale Community Council, ADC, Cincinnati Police Department, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati Recreation Commission and Green Umbrella.
NEA awarded ArtWorks a $50,000 matching grant in 2019 to support artist-led public art installations in this historic neighborhood in 2020.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is the matching sponsor for the project with additional support from the SunTrust Bank Foundation.