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Truth and Reconciliation Program Culminates in Artist Showcase

Last weekend, local Black and Brown artists presented their work to the public. Each artist received a grant from ArtsWave, designed to uplift the artistry and experiences of people of color, on the themes of "truth" and "reconciliation." Their projects, revealed at the three-part Truth and Reconciliation Artist Showcase, approach the theme from diverse perspectives and disciplines.

Five of the artists premiered their work at a new exhibition at The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Gee Horton revealed photographs of 60 participating Black men for his “Baobab Project,” with each photo representing variations of Black male identity. Rebecca Nava’s “The Edge” presents paintings and Mesoamerican-inspired floor installations to explore connections between contemporary ecology and ancient indigenous science, spirituality and cosmology. Tyra Patterson worked with incarcerated women to create “Time Saved vs. Time Served,” featuring art based on their experiences. Visit the Freedom Center through October 31 to see these works and more at the Truth and Reconciliation Visual Art Exhibition.

Twelve artists produced short films, which the Freedom Center’s Harriet Tubman Theater screened this weekend. Preston Charles III premiered his new documentary, “A Citizens' Journey Through Truth and Reconciliation: The Origins of Race,” which traces race as an ideology from its invention through how it shapes the contemporary Cincinnati region. Deqah Hussein-Wetzel shared a film version of her ongoing podcast, “Urban Roots,” exploring little-known stories about people of color from the region’s history.

Memorial Hall OTR hosted performances by nine Truth and Reconciliation artists as the final part of the showcase. Pianist Awadagin Pratt played classical piano and spoke on his experiences with racism in America. Juan Gabriel Martinez Rubio expressed the Hispanic community’s loss of culture, roots, identity and language through his four-part dance piece, “Nosotros/US.” A diverse cast of local comedians lightened the atmosphere with a performance of Gauravi Shah’s sketch comedy revue, “Troof and Sketchconciliation.” All of the live performances reached wider audiences through Facebook Live. Click here to find the recording.

The inaugural year of the Truth and Reconciliation grant program culminated with the good news that additional funding for Black and Brown artist projects would be available next year, thanks to our partners, the City of Cincinnati, Macy’s and the tens of thousands who give to the annual ArtsWave Campaign. Catch the exhibition at the NURFC between now and the end of October to witness the work firsthand. Find out more at, and learn more about the artists from the Artist Showcase’s digital program book. To support projects like this one and many more, go to

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