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PRESS ROOM: Inspire and connect communities through art as a Cincinnati Art Museum docent

CINCINNATI HERALD — The Cincinnati Art Museum is on the hunt for enthusiastic and committed volunteers who want to learn about and share the museum’s unparalleled art collection and special exhibitions.

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By The Cincinnati Herald

The Cincinnati Art Museum is on the hunt for enthusiastic and committed volunteers who want to learn about and share the museum’s unparalleled art collection and special exhibitions.

The museum is accepting applications for a new docent class from May 1–August 30, 2019. In line with its strategic plan, the museum aims to recruit 15–20 docents who will build upon and diversify its current team of 106 active docents.

Cincinnati Art Museum docents are volunteer educators who are more than tour guides. Docents create and facilitate conversation-based tours that make art from around the world more relevant and interesting for visitors. Docents receive a unique opportunity to go behind-the-scenes and in-depth into the museum’s collection and traveling exhibitions. No formal training or experience is required.

Volunteers who are accepted into the Cincinnati Art Museum’s docent program will receive nine months of training led by museum staff, curators and art experts from January–September 2020. The training program, with both daytime and evening options, will include art history, familiarization with the museum’s collection and galleries and visitor interaction best practices. New docents will be required to sign a contract committing to two years of service after the training period. To maintain active docent status, docents must lead 30 tours per year. A weekend docent option is also available, requiring 15 tours per year.

Those interested in learning more about the docent program may attend an information session. The first will be held at the College Hill Recreation Center, 5545 Belmont Ave., on May 16, from 6–7 p.m. Another will be at the LeBlond Recreation Center, 2335 Riverside Dr., on June 19, from 6–7 p.m. Applicants must be at least 16 years of age or older to apply. To obtain an application, visit the museum front desk or our website at cincinnatiartmuseum.org/docentcorps.

This article originally appeared in the Cincinnati Herald

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Art

Artist Highlight: TJ Walkup “Iconoclast, Cartoon Illustrator, Filmmaker”

Born in 1970 in Napa, California, TJ has studied and practices in multiple creative and technical disciplines, MIDI and Sound Design, Stagecraft, Art and Graphic Arts in LA, Napa, Central Coast and San Francisco. TJ is a solo artist and a contributor and collaborator in various forms from art shows, published in activist rags advocating for homeless with Street Spirit, Street Sheet and Homeless in the Homeland.

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Today TJ and his wife Christina own and operate a small production company Omnific Pictures. He is actively illustrating zines, books and re- imagining classic literature as graphic novels, and makes experimental music under a secret moniker in the top 10 of the genre for 8 years.
Today TJ and his wife Christina own and operate a small production company Omnific Pictures. He is actively illustrating zines, books and re- imagining classic literature as graphic novels, and makes experimental music under a secret moniker in the top 10 of the genre for 8 years.

Born in 1970 in Napa, California, TJ has studied and practices in multiple creative and technical disciplines, MIDI and Sound Design, Stagecraft, Art and Graphic Arts in LA, Napa, Central Coast and San Francisco. TJ is a solo artist and a contributor and collaborator in various forms from art shows, published in activist rags advocating for homeless with Street Spirit, Street Sheet and Homeless in the Homeland. As a musician and recording technologist he has played on college radio and on underground pirate radio.

TJ recalls “I had a one-man painting show at the last club with a cabaret license in SF and Edward Snowden was in attendance”. Locally TJ produced the Punk and Edge Arts Festival “Mocktoberfest,” the first of its kind in Vallejo.

Children received instruments and lessons free of charge in their chosen genre. This was in partnership with the Mira Theater and included 2 stages at the Empress and Mira theaters with 13 bands as well as a showing of “Afropunk” and an art show. Former museum director Jim Kern’s set list sheets from “The Cramps” appeared in the art show as well as an “Otaku Patrol Group” Cyberpunk leather jacket as artifact displays.

Klaus Flouride of the Dead Kennedy’s was in attendance and a presenter through Schroom Custom Guitarworks, Consumer music and Ernie Ball were sponsors.

Today TJ and his wife Christina own and operate a small production company Omnific Pictures.

He is actively illustrating zines, books and re- imagining classic literature as graphic novels, and makes experimental music under a secret moniker in the top 10 of the genre for 8 years.

This Artist Highlight was brought to you by the Vallejo Commission on Culture and the Arts.

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Art

Choreographer, Poet, Playwright Robert Henry Johnson, 54

Robert Henry Johnson, a Bay Area dancer, choreographer, and playwright, passed away on Dec. 16, 2022. His body was identified in March. Johnson will be missed deeply. He worked in the Bay Area for decades, teaching a generation of Black artists.

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Robert Henry Johnson. Facebook profile photo.
Robert Henry Johnson. Facebook profile photo.

By Zoe Jung

Robert Henry Johnson, a Bay Area dancer, choreographer, and playwright, passed away on Dec. 16, 2022. His body was identified in March.

Johnson will be missed deeply. He worked in the Bay Area for decades, teaching a generation of Black artists.

He was born Jan. 30, 1968, to Robert Gonzales, a guitarist, and jazz singer Lady Mem’fis. He grew up in the Western Addition neighborhood showing early talent in theatre and dance.

One of the first students to graduate from the San Francisco School of Performing Arts, Johnson went on to receive a full scholarship to the San Francisco Ballet School in 1985, where he studied for four years. After graduating, he moved further into the world of writing and choreography.

He applied for a playwrights’ residency at Sugar Shack Performance Gallery in 1992 where he staged, directed and developed several of his plays. For his poetic and lively writing style, he was honored with the Levi’s & Strauss Certificate of Literary Appreciation that same year.

In 1993, he founded the Robert Henry Johnson Dance Company the same year his first play, “Poison Ground,” was featured in the Bay Area Playwrights Festival and was produced by the Hartford Stage Company two years later.

Over time he created works for the Bavarian State Ballet, Ballet British Columbia, Oakland Ballet, and others.

Although his troupe performed for several years, earning local and national acclaim, he disbanded it to focus on solo efforts.

Among those efforts were writing plays and poetry. In the months before his passing, he had taken up a challenge to create poems just for his Facebook audience.

At the turn of the year, Facebook posts from friends showed they were concerned that they couldn’t get in touch with him, especially around his birthday.

When his death was announced, there was an outpouring of grief on social media.

On March 27, Wanda Sabir of Wanda’s Picks radio held an online memorial for Johnson. Each person attending was given a five-minute window to remember Johnson, tell stories about him, speak to his passing, and celebrate his life.

More than 80 people came to watch the memorial on YouTube, which ran for about two hours.

Dancer, teacher, and author Halifu Osumare began the memorial with a libation, invoking the spirits of the ancestors to help mourners through their grief and help Johnson’s spirit find its way.

Raissa Simpson, the founder of PUSH Dance Company, said, “He was young, gifted, and Black, the epitome of it. And he also mentored so many of us, so many of us young Black choreographers. He stood up for us, he protected us . . . he did a lot for us.”

Sherrie Taylor, Johnson’s cousin, said, “He was such an inspiration to everyone here. He will always be a bright light in my life because that’s what he did. He shined like a bright light. He was a wonderful person, and I just wish I could have spent some more time with him.”

Antoine Hunter said it was “a time to celebrate that light that was lit from the day I met him.” At the end of his speaking window, Hunter shared that the last words he said to Johnson were “I love you.”

Another celebration of Johnson’s memory will be held April 8 at the Zaccho Dance Theatre at 1777 Yosemite Ave., San Francisco, and another on May 27 at the African American Art and Culture Complex at 762 Fulton St, San Francisco. Time to be announced.

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Art

Oakland Museum of California to Feature Works of NIAD Artists

Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is partnering with Richmond’s NIAD Art Center and other Bay Area organizations serving artists with developmental disabilities to present “Into the Brightness: Artists from Creativity Explored, Creative Growth & NIAD,” a large-scale, multimedia exhibition Fri., May 19, 2023, through Jan. 21, 2024.

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Luis Estrada at work at the NIAD Art Center. (Photo courtesy of OMCA)
Luis Estrada at work at the NIAD Art Center. (Photo courtesy of OMCA)

By Kathy Chouteau

Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is partnering with Richmond’s NIAD Art Center and other Bay Area organizations serving artists with developmental disabilities to present “Into the Brightness: Artists from Creativity Explored, Creative Growth & NIAD,” a large-scale, multimedia exhibition Fri., May 19, 2023, through Jan. 21, 2024.

OMCA said it will be “a major exhibition celebrating the myriad works of world-renowned contemporary artists with developmental disabilities producing work of incredible power, exuberance, humor, complexity and joy across multiple mediums and styles.”

Artists from Creativity Explored in San Francisco and Creative Growth in Oakland will join NIAD in the exhibition, sharing their “powerful work across multiple artistic disciplines” including painting, sculpture, film, multimedia, textiles and more, per the museum.

Photo courtesy of the Oakland Museum of California.

Photo courtesy of the Oakland Museum of California.

It’s the largest museum exhibition to date featuring artists from the three Bay Area organizations, including: Saul Alegria, Peter Cordova, Tranesha Smith-Kilgore, Marlon Mullen, Dorian Reid, William Scott, Dinah Shapiro, Nicole Storm and Marilyn Wong.

“Our organizations were founded under the premise that everyone has creative potential that deserves to be nurtured and celebrated,” said Creativity Explored, Creative Growth and NIAD Art Center in a collaborative statement.

The organizations added that the existing and emerging artists from their studios “are powerful members of the Bay Area art scene who provide an important lens into how art is a tool for communication, expression and connection.” They said they’re excited “to bring this show to life” with OMCA.

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