ArtWorks fellows explore ‘Future Heirlooms’ in new exhibition

Multimedia artist Sarah Rodriguez and seven young adult artists will showcase the results of a month of artistic mentorship in a new show at ArtWorks’ V² Gallery in Walnut Hills.

“Future Heirlooms” opens Friday, Dec. 1. Visitors can meet and hear from the gallery fellows and Rodriguez, who’s director of arts education at Kennedy Heights Arts Center.

Attendees can also purchase the artwork, with proceeds going to artists. After the opening, visitors can schedule appointments to see the exhibition through Jan. 11. The address is 929 E. McMillan St.

“In this series, ‘Future Heirlooms,’ I consider the gesture of an object gifted as a talisman of encouragement, and love,” said Rodriguez, whose work investigates human connectedness with space, nature and interpersonal relationships. 

A work created by V2 Gallery fellow Kara Flaspohler that will be in the exhibition.

ArtWorks’ Gallery Fellowship Program supports diverse groups of emerging artists, ages 16 to 24, by allowing them to refine their professional art skills for their first gallery exhibition. Guided by professional artists, each cohort collaborates on a cohesive group exhibition. The artist-in-residence determines the theme, materials and art-making methods.

The young adult artists in the program are:  

  • Gabriel Brooks 
  • Tori Bostogaite  
  • Kara Flaspohler  
  • MK Hensley  
  • Joelle Sammy  
  • Aminata Thiam  
  • Gavin Warner

The artists began preparing for this show by discussing Rodriguez’s “future heirlooms” concept. The group then explored the meaning behind their most precious personal items and looked at how those objects reflect identity and relationships.

As part of the process, the group took part in Walnut Hills Community Day. ArtWorks’ headquarters and the gallery are both in that neighborhood.  

Sarah Rodriguez

Rodriguez is no stranger to fellowship or residencies. She was a William and Dorthy Yeck Fellow at the Dayton Art Institute in 2014 and Three Arts Scholar a year later. She has completed residencies at Chautauqua Institute’s School of Art in Chautauqua, N.Y. in 2014 and Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center between 2019-2020.

As ArtWorks’ fifth and final resident artist of 2023, Rodriguez worked with fellows to explore new techniques, create and discuss artwork based on the theme, write artist statements and engage with arts professionals.

The goal was to ensure each fellow crafted pieces that express their unique experiences and perspectives, Rodriguez said.

“What I have found is that there is no greater gift than being a part of a supportive community. It’s my goal to help communities flourish through arts education,” she added. 

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