COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Columbus artists are using their talents to create change. The King Arts Complex is coordinating a collaborative effort to fight racism and promote social change with the HeART of Protest campaign.
Between Juneteenth and the November General Election, more than 20 different art organizations are creating 46 non-consecutive days of art showcasing Black history in the U.S.
“Before slavery all the way up to today,” explained Jevon Collins, the performing arts director at the King Arts Complex. “We will continue [learning about] that because we say you must know your past presently to get to your future.”
The 46-day campaign represents the age of George Floyd when he was killed at the hands of Minneapolis Police. Collins said art has always been a tool for protest and self-expression.
“People need a way to vent, a way to express themselves. And creatively — you’re able to speak, for some, more easily than talking to someone,” he said.
The HeART of Protest initiative comes on the heels of the Art Inspires Cbus campaign, in which CAPA and the Greater Columbus Arts Council commissioned murals on plywood boards in front of downtown businesses. Both organizations are among the groups participating in the new campaign.
Collins estimates there will be close to 10 events monthly throughout the summer, like a performance of “Sanctuary Road” by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, a production of “American Son” at CATCO or an exhibition of Aminah Robinson’s work at the Columbus Museum of Art.
Each organization will be promoting voter registration leading up to the November election.
“We want our community to know, to impact change, you must vote,” Collins said.
Additionally, some community partners are selling merchandise and collecting donations. Homage is selling T-shirts with a HeART of Protest logo. Gramercy Books of Bexley is also selling this book. Proceeds from the sales and donations will go towards long-term programming to fight racism.
“We’re just so thankful to get the community together to collectively speak and to move forward,” Collins said. “And to make something through the arts and for our community that can be sustainable for the youth and for the future.”