Sunday, February 15, 2004

Reunion celebrates vitality of art

Arts Consortium of Cincinnati

By Marilyn Bauer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

"Sarah" is by Brian Joiner, whose career took off after a 1998 consortium show of his portraits of black women.

For 32 years, the Arts Consortium of Cincinnati has been a well-loved haven for artists, educators and historians. It has always been a place where young artists at the start of their careers can come for advice and where mid-career artists are willing to oblige.

To celebrate its anniversary, the consortium is presenting Reunion of Artists II: Celebrating the Artists of the 1980s-1990s through March 21. The second show in an ongoing annual series, the mixed-media exhibition features 60 works - paintings, sculpture, photography, and textiles - by 32 consortium artists.

"It seems like now people are yearning for artists and to have art involved in their projects," says veteran artist and poet, Annie Ruth. "People have become educated and enlightened about art, and with the education comes a deeper appreciation."

The Arts Consortium is dedicated to preserving and advancing African and African-American art, as well as teaching and documenting the past.

"It's been hard for local artists because big corporations are buying out of town," says Don Marsh, whose paintings are in the Reunion show. "The difference between the '80s and now is that today there are more venues. For an artist, exposure is everything."

Toilynn O'Neal, visual arts director for the past 10 years, has worked hard to improve programs and to get the community involved.

"I'm excited about this reunion," says Ruth, "It's such a variety of styles and ages and backgrounds."

Marsh agrees: "I think that it's always nice to have a place in the inner city that is multicultural, that cuts across ethnic lines. The Arts Consortium makes art available to everyone."

Artists wanted

The Arts Consortium is looking for work in all media that supports its mission statement: To celebrate, advance and preserve African and African-American culture and achievement through arts, history and education.

Participating galleries are Fred Bond Gallery and Artist Corner Gallery, 1515 Linn St., and the William Mallory Sr. Gallery at the Arts Consortium's African American Museum, Cincinnati Museum Center.

Local artists wanting to be part of the project should call visual arts coordinator Toilynn O'Neal at 381-0916.

O'Neal will schedule an appointment with you to show and discuss your slides or photographs. Hours: 1-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday.

Consortium schedule

Linn Street and African American Museum

Through March 21: A Reunion of Artists II, 1980s & 1990s at 1515 Linn St. and at the African American Museum, Cincinnati Museum Center.

Today: Fine Arts Sampler Weekend

African American Museum, William L. Mallory Sr. Gallery

April 1-May 29: Kwame Clay, reception April 17

June 5-Aug. 29: African-American designers, reception June 19.

Sept. 11-Nov. 30: 3-D African American Perspective

Dec. 4-Jan. 17: Linda Chapman, reception Dec. 18

Linn Street Artist Corner

Through March 21: Da Da

March 6: Community quilting bee

Oct. 1-Dec. 31 Writers of Outstanding Words (WOW)

Fred Bond Gallery 1515 Linn St.

April 1-June 30: Textile and quilting exhibition

July 1-Sept. 20: Kuumba Youth exhibition

Oct.1-Dec. 31: Fine art competition

Westin Hotel Black History Month Celebration Downtown atrium

Through Feb. 27 (10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays): Heritage Quilters Outreach

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