Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Cincinnati Children’s transformed office space into a temporary art studio for more than a dozen students from several public schools, who spent a day collaborating with professional artists to create powerful and inspiring paintings. The works of art will be displayed and listed for sale at the Gallery at Gumbo in Over-the-Rhine, with the exhibition opening on Sunday, Dec. 4, and Monday, Dec. 5.
The opening of the “Pursuit of Healthiness” exhibit will run from 1 to 4 p.m. on Dec. 4 and from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 at the Gallery at Gumbo, 1300 Main St. The hybrid gallery / barbershop was launched several years ago as a hub for community building and the empowerment of diverse local artists. The public is welcome at the exhibit opening, and appetizers will be served both days. To register to attend, use this link: Art Exhibit - Invitation to Pursuit of Healthiness Art Exhibit.
“The Pursuit of Healthiness is an inspiring art exhibit that highlights the talent we have in our community, including youths with artistic potential,” said Monica Mitchell, PhD, senior director of Community Relations at Cincinnati Children’s. “These artists captured the important connection between art and health, as well as the connection between art and wellness. We know that part of the pursuit of healthiness is allowing young people to connect socially and to express themselves artistically.”
The paintings will be displayed by Gallery at Gumbo though January. The works were painted by the student artists during a “Day of Creation” at the Cincinnati Children’s Lincoln Building in Walnut Hills. The building features large windows that let in natural light, which the students took advantage of as they collaborated with five professional artists who donated their time on Saturday, Oct. 29.
The “Pursuit of Healthiness” is sponsored by Cincinnati Children’s, and students selected for the project were identified by the medical center in collaboration with Cincinnati Public Schools.
The aspiring artists, in eighth through 12th grade, are students at Clark Montessori High School, Dater Montessori High School, Gamble Montessori High School, Hughes High School or Western Hills High School. Each student received a stipend for their participation.
The 16 students were tasked with creating a painting that showed what health means to them. The five professional artists went beyond teaching techniques, sharing insights on how to capture on canvas a person’s life experiences, self-image, and emotions.
“This program was really eye-opening,” said Bailey, one of the students. “It was calming. I learned to work on my own self-portrait.”
Carshaun, another student, added: “Our teacher taught us how to look at ourselves in a more positive way. We discussed our image of ourselves.”
The Gallery at Gumbo lined up the professional artists: Brent Billingsley, who also is a behavioral health specialist at Cincinnati Children’s; Rashad Manuel Jr.; Nytaya Babbitt; Javarri Lewis; and Hannah “Jonesy” Jones.
“It has been really cool to share my art with younger people and to create something beautiful,” Jones said.
Added Lewis: “It was great working with other artists I know and working with the kids. Doing it with Cincinnati Children’s was great. It’s been very fulfilling.”
Proceeds from the sale of the art created by students through the “Pursuit of Healthiness” project will benefit two local community health nonprofits, Every Child Succeeds and Cradle Cincinnati.
Every Child Succeeds provides home visits to optimize child health and development for families from low-income backgrounds in Butler, Clermont, and Hamilton counties in Ohio as well as Boone, Campbell, Grant, and Kenton counties in Northern Kentucky. The organization was founded in 1999 by Cincinnati Children’s, the Hamilton County Community Action Agency, and United Way of Greater Cincinnati.
Cradle Cincinnati, which was founded in 2012 to reduce infant mortality, is a collaborative effort of healthcare professionals, parents, caregivers, and community members.
Barrett J. Brunsman