The person charged with ensuring BLINK grows brightly every two years received recognition as one of 25 “creative revolutionaries” around the world who’s having a major impact on the community they call home.
BLINK executive director Justin Brookhart made the annual list created by CODAworx, a hub for the commissioned art economy. It’s a resource for cities, organizations and individuals looking for talented artists, creative teams and subcontractors for major projects, namely public art.
Now in its fifth year, the list features 25 individuals at the forefront of what CODAworx calls the “artistic-activist revolution.” It includes both cutting-edge artists and pioneering commissioners who “push the envelope to support artwork that facilitates empathy and engagement,” according to CODAworx CEO Toni Sikes.
CODAworx will honor Brookhart and the other members of 2024 list in October during the annual CODASummit at Cincinnati’s Memorial Hall.
The conference will attract about 500 artists, technologists and thought leaders in the art and design worlds. The three-day event is the same week as BLINK.
“BLINK has demonstrated tremendous success in the public art space over the course of just a few short years. We’re thrilled to bring CODAworx to Cincinnati during this incredible event that pushes the envelope for the intersection of art and technology in our world,” Sikes said.
Using art for community change
One of the criteria for the Creative Revolutionaries program is finding individuals who’ve helped change the way people interact with art through novel applications of materials, technology, execution and the use of space in the urban landscape.
There are few better examples of that than BLINK, a unique street festival held every other year in Greater Cincinnati. The art and light showcase spans more than 30 city blocks from the northern part of Over-the-Rhine all the way across the Ohio River into downtown Covington.
BLINK had more than 2.1 million attendees from 29 different states in 2022, Brookhart’s first year in charge. The four-day festival generated an estimated $126 million in direct economic impact for the Cincinnati region.
In his role as executive director, Brookhart uses technology and large-scale platforms to help diverse artists share their visions on a grand stage.
In 2022, BLINK had dozens of installations – interactive displays, animated murals, digital mapping, etc. – created by 71 artists from around the world. The artist corps featured 18 international creatives and 21 from other parts of the United States. But there were also 32 local artists, who had a chance to highlight the talent in this part of the country.
At last year’s CODASummit, BLINK mural and projection installation “AD PACEM” received a CODAaward. The awards celebrate projects that successfully integrate art into interior, architectural or public spaces.
Faith XLVII designed the AD PACEM mural with projection installation by Inka Kendzia.
“At BLINK, we don’t just curate and display art, we create a vibrant tapestry of ideas and expressions,” Brookhart said.
To plan the event, Brookhart works closely with a team made up of colleagues from Cincinnati Regional Chamber and several partners agencies, including AGAR, ish, Cincy Nice and ArtWorks.
In announcing BLINK 2024, partners praised Brookhart’s organizational leadership skills and collaborative mindset with helping the event attract a wider audience than ever before.
Brookhart looks forward to applying everything he’s learned over the past two years to host another wildly successful iteration of the festival.
“This recognition by CODAworx is a testament to the collective effort and vision of everyone involved in BLINK and the broader community that supports and embraces the power of public art,” he said.