Welcome (M)Art to transform Welcome Project space throughout 2022

Always looking for ways to integrate art into the everyday, Wave Pool has announced Welcome (M)Art, an immersive art/food residency program that blurs the lines between art gallery, grocery and dinner party, providing a unique opportunity for social discourse in Cincinnati.

According to Wave Pool, Socially Engaged Art has a history of using food to achieve both social connection and critical commentary. Food is often utilized as a quick convener of communities and can bring us easily into dialogue on issues of power, place, sustainability and culture. Today, more and more emerging and established artists choose to work with food as process, subject, metaphor and realization.

Wave Pool will present four comprehensive artist projects and installations in 2022 at its Welcome Project space as a pilot year for this innovative program. These artist projects will be thorough transformations of the market and kitchen storefronts, becoming immersive installations that tackle tough issues on social justice, equity, sustainability, and other topics dependent on the artist and project.

The Welcome Project space will still operate as a market – abetting food insecurity issues in our neighborhood and providing much needed food access – but the context of the food will change depending on the installation. After an international open call process, a jury has selected the following four artist projects for this inaugural Welcome (M)Art season:

Rouyi Shi, “Food Envelopes,” January-March

“Three or More Fish,” video still by Rouyi Shi, 2021

In many cultures, people insert letters or objects in food and use food as an envelope for secrets, or transform a regular message into a revolution: mooncakes, fortune cookies, King cake, or new year dumplings. In “Food Envelopes,” Rouyi Shi will use food to deliver messages. By presenting video installations, edible objects that contain letters inside she will retell the “fish story” in Cincinnati. Ruoyi Shi is an interdisciplinary artist working with objects, writings, performances, and video installations. Shi was born and raised in Nanjing, China. She is a recent MFA graduate from the California Institute of the Arts. 

Stephanie Gonzalez, “Fried Green Tomatillo,” April-June

Stephanie Gonzalez has had a love for food since she was a child, living in a boisterous neighborhood in Los Angeles where shared meals meant community, sustainability and kinship. “Fried Green Tomatillo” is an immersive food and art installation highlighting cuisines of the deep south and the global south. Stephanie currently develops recipes at Pata Roja Taqueria and works as their operations manager connecting with various food communities throughout Cincinnati and Kentucky. 

Christopher Leitch, “Cooking From Memory,” July-September

Cooking from Memory will build an ecumenical and historical culture diary of Cincinnati foodways. The installation and events will illuminate subtle and profound powers of daily sensory engagement with food to translate and transmit personal and public history, culture and identity, especially for people in new places. Christopher Leitch is a visual artist rom Kansas City, Missouri and has previously served as director of Kansas City Museum, a consulting curator with the Center for Creative Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and as Assistant Dean to Kansas City Art Institute.

Ngoc Nguyen, “Room For Two Table For Ten,” October-December

Cultural Triangle, Installation View by Ngoc Nguyen, 2012

“Room For Two Table For Ten” is an invitation for sharing personal stories about displacement and belongings over a meal in a constructed space. The viewer will be engaged in different situations and contexts such as family gathering meals or Vietnamese style street food stalls. Currently living and working in Ho Chi Minh City, Nguyen was born and grew up in Binh Duong province in Southern Vietnam. She completed her art studies and Sydney, Australia and has participated in exhibitions and international residency programs including in Australia, South Korea, Japan and Canada.

Welcome (M)ART is funded by the Carol Ann and. Ralph V. Haile, Jr. Foundation

The Welcome Project is located at 2936 Colerain Ave., and open Tuesday-Saturday 11-6 p.m.


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