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The Center Announces Latest Recipients of Creative Community Grants

Have you seen the goats in Goebel Park, or taken your children to the swing in Orchard Park? How about the Pike Street Art Wall or the Glenn O. Swing Elementary mural? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ve seen the results of projects funded by The Center for Great Neighborhoods’ (The Center) Creative Community Grants program.

Building upon this momentum, The Center is pleased to announce the third round of Creative Community Grant recipients. Grants totaling $30,000 were awarded to seven artists and creatives who proposed creative projects designed to positively engage and impact the Covington community through art.

In this round of grants, the projects all focus on the topic of inclusion, with the goal of highlighting the uniqueness of Covington residents and working to make everyone feel welcome in the community.Grantees were selected by a panel of five judges that included professionals in arts-related organizations, Covington residents, and a staffperson from The Center.

“Covington is creatively diverse and these seven projects all dive deeper into that diversity," said Shannon Ratterman, Program Manager of Community Development. “All of the projects will create new opportunities for Covington residents to participate in the arts in unique ways – from incorporating personal possessions into a mosaic mural, to highlighting the collective artistic talents of an entire neighborhood, to learning culinary techniques in a new way alongside the blind and visually impaired."

Creative Community Grant recipients and projects include:

Collective Mosaic Mural

Recipients: Ximena Flores, Anne Marie Herrera, Luis Laya

Inspired by the Westside neighborhood, these artists have designed a mosaic mural of flowers blossoming from the ground and transforming into a variety of birds, spreading their wings and flying together as a flock. The image will reflect the neighborhoods diversity, growth, community, and transformation. The community will be invited to not only help assemble the mosaic, but to bring small items that are personal to them, like a mismatched earring or a note, to incorporate into the design.

Little Free Art Studio

Recipient: Annie Brown

Think Little Free Library, for art. Annie will design and build a free standing, weatherproofart studio complete with art supplies where visitors become artists and are invited to make art, take art, or just enjoy art.

Braille-ing A new Trail

Recipient: Northern Kentucky Council of the Blind (NKCB), in partnership with Covington chefs

The NKCB will partner with local chefs and restaurateurs to encourage a more inclusive restaurant experience in Covington. Restaurants will offer group-cooking classes for the blind and visually impaired and in exchange for their time and teaching, the restaurants will be provided with menus in large print and braille. The braille printer will be purchased with funds from the grant and will be housed at The Center for use by any Covington restaurant or service provider seeking to make their business more accommodating. Wunderbar has already signed on as the first to participate by teaching how to roll their famous pretzels!

Westside Makers: A Community Event

Recipient: Calcagno Cullen

Covington is a community of makers. This project aims to illuminate this trademark by hosting a “meet the makers” field day and publishing a DIY Westside Makers book. Any resident of the Westside neighborhood who identifies as a maker, including anything from knitting to fly-tying to carpentry, is invited, for one afternoon, to move their practice outdoors and to share with the community. The event will serve as the release for the accompanying book that shares submitted DIY recipes, designs, and instructions along with stories and portraits of Covington makers.

What Makes a Street Pleasant?

Recipient: Anissa Lewis

This project is an invitation to engage Covington residents living on and around Pleasant Street in the Eastside neighborhood in conversations about what Covington means to them. It starts with one on one conversation, then broadens the conversation to the whole community, and ends with a face-to-face community meal. Residents will have thechance to share about the role Covington plays in their lives and the role they play in Covington, with the goal of resulting in a neighborhood that is better acquainted and better equipped to improve their lives and their neighborhood.

Raymond Thunder-Sky Spirit Tower

Recipient: Thunder-Sky, Inc.

This project will erect an outdoor sculpture commemorating the life and legacy of Raymond Thunder-Sky, a Native American artist (also labeled with a developmental disability) who traveled around the region dressed as a construction worker and clown, drawing construction and demolition sites in Cincinnati, Dayton, and Northern Kentucky. The sculpture will be created by Tom Tsuchiya, a Cincinnati-based sculptor whose worksare known throughout the world, as well as here in the region; his sculptures of famous Cincinnati Reds players line the entry ways into the Great American Ballpark. Since passing away in 2004, Thunder-Sky’s reputation as an “outsider artist” and cultural icon has grown. He is known throughout the area and is the inspiration for Visionaries + Voices, an art studio for people with disabilities.

The Mini Microcinema – Exhibition at The Carnegie

Recipient: The Mini Microcinema, C. Jacqueline Wood

In this exhibition of The Mini Microcinema, a small pop-up movie theater will be hosted by the Carnegie in their gallery space during March and April. These seven weeks of programming will be free to the public and feature film screenings, performances, and moving image installations by a variety of national, regional, and Northern Kentucky artists, with diverse backgrounds and points of view.

Like previous rounds of this grant, The Center specifically focused some projects in Covington’s Westside neighborhood, with three of the six projects being located there. The decision is part of a deliberate effort by The Center to target creative placemaking in the Westside and to focus energy on the reawakening of the neighborhood’s maker identity.

"The Westside of Covington has a history of making things, from goetta to beer to church benches," added Ratterman. "We are intentionally dedicating a large portion of Creative Community Grant funds to projects in the Westside neighborhood because we believe that concentrating our development work in one area helps us to create a bigger impact."

The Center’s Creative Community Grants are funded through a multi-year grant The Center received from The Kresge Foundation to implement creative placemaking activities in Covington. The Center plans to continue awarding Creative Community Grants over the next two years. Awards of up to $5,000 per project will be available and each round will address a different issue. Information on the next round of Creative Community Grants will be available in the spring of 2016.

More information about Creative Community Grants can be found online at

From The Center/Photo provided